The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) 15-year rule is a period which could leave its mark on the complete change and transformation of a society. Indeed, during this period, the AK Party made an impact that transformed and determined the sociology and politics of not only Turkey, but of the entire region. The presence and influence of the AK Party has undoubtedly appeared in the politics of the whole region, from Europe to the Middle East. Today, the EU’s course is being affected by the party’s presence, while emerging demands for democracy in the Middle East and economic mobility are being seriously affected by its preferences and domestic and foreign policies.
It makes this impact sometimes by competing with many players who try to be decisive in all these political basins and sometimes by acting in unison with them. Just as there is no single player or factor determinant in any social development, we have to avoid using an exaggerated tone that portrays the AK Party as the only determinant player. However, it is an indisputable fact that AK Party’s regional influence has increasingly come to the fore among other players.
We can repeat what we said earlier in another context. Until recently, the AK Party’s reformist and transformational power in Turkey was based on its quite creative role like the “opposition in power.” When it actually came to power, it faced a paradox: “When the opposition status quo is over, cadres which led to a revolutionary change in the country have the risk of repeating themselves and then lose faith in their arguments.”
This phase needed to be shaken off. It was not a problem that an opposition from outside could solve easily.
This was a routinization phase to which every charismatic movement can be exposed, which AK Party’s leader regards as "metal fatigue," and as a starting point for mobilization. The way to overcome this phase was to believe, once again, with fresh excitement, a sound self-criticism and innovation. The greatest advantage of the charismatic movement is that it is still led by a leader who has an increasing social legitimacy and support with his success, sincerity and dynamism.
Although the AK Party faced rigid opposition when it was founded 15 years ago, it has carried out some great innovations that could not even be imagined. Of course, it would not be right to attribute all these achievements merely to the fact that it has not lost its excitement or energy of being an opposition on its own. Moreover, the external affiliations of those powers, which are now highly regressed in the country, continue to show their opposition in the most immoral manner by taking off their masks. The "global status quo," which is trying to break the AK Party's influence as a player, continues to give the AK Party the power it deserves in opposition.
The AK Party’s vision for change especially in the Middle East is based on the development, welfare and freedom of people so that they could have a say in administration and achieve a certain level in human rights. The people of the region were already attracting each other like a magnet culturally, economically and socially. Removing some obstacles between them was enough to bring them together.
The free circulation and trade regime that was developed among Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon before 2010 (it still continues with Jordan and Lebanon to some extent) was poised to build a completely new Middle East. Turkey demands peace, union, development, freedom and honor.
This model could soon be extended to Iraq, Egypt, Libya and other countries in the region. Such a Middle East suddenly ceased to be a dream. While the process showed that the century-old order in the Middle East was radically changing, Turkey was undoubtedly the most prominent player and determinant. It is possible to discern all the events that developed later and reversed this process as the plans of some players trying to eliminate this effect of Turkey.
Those who play a role against Turkey’s positive influence on the Middle East’s transformation represent the “absolute evil" in terms of not only Turkey, but also general human values, democratic perspective, human rights and the people of the Middle East.
So, there is a clear difference between the role Turkey and other players, including the U.S. and the EU, play in the Middle East. Dictatorships, backed by the U.S. and EU, support coups, division, disintegration and the violation of human rights in places where Turkey seeks and observes democracy, human rights and territorial integrity.
F. Fukuyama pointed out years ago that history had ended in favor of liberal democracy.
How would he analyze the fact that countries that he referred to as the owners of liberal democracy support coups and dictatorships, instead of democracy, and carry out massacres in our region?