The probable results of the resignation of Davutoğlu and his friends from the Justice and Development Party (AKP)

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Translated by Melissa Clissold

What was expected happened and Ahmet Davutoğlu and his friends, without waiting to be discharged, resigned from the AKP. What is the chance of success for this new team that will continue to carry out politics under a new roof?

Hello, good day. What was expected happened and Ahmet Davutoğlu and his friends resigned from the AKP. Davutoğlu explained the reasons for his resignation as follows: “We are resigning from our party for which we have made great efforts and laboured for with our ideas for years, so that the AKP’s faithful basis is saved from the sorrow of seeing their chairman be dismissed.” Davutoğlu was very emotional during this press conference and he stated that he would be leaving with his friends to start a new movement. 

What sort of effect will this have? This is actually a topic we have discussed for some time, but we now know that Davutoğlu has no more chance of holding a strong position within the AKP as he did during the beginning of the movement. This chance was destroyed the minute he was referred to disciplinary board for dismissal. It has been made even clearer with his resignation. Firstly, we must look at this: Davutoğlu has made a name for himself. From his first consultancy position, as key advisor, the AKP chairman which followed after and finally as prime minister. He has held roles in different ranks during different stages of his career. 

He is a name that has especially determined the foreign policy of Turkey, a name identified with the AKP, yet he has to leave. Therefore, this is actually very important for the AKP and Turkey. But none of the prominent media institutions broadcasted this live. They ignored such an important event. Before broadcasting this programme, I looked at the front pages of certain newspapers that come to mind on the internet, there is news regarding the resignation, but only a few sentences without any depth. So, they aren’t completely disregarding it, but they don’t want to see it either. Because Davutoğlu leaving will harm the AKP, it will definitely damage them, and impact them negatively. 

But to what extent, we will only know after seeing the path that Davutoğlu and his friends will take. But this, not being able to appear on the media…To a large extent Davutoğlu will now have to continue on social media even though during his time as chairman of the party and prime minister and during his time as foreign minister, he had largely controlled the media and appeared on any channel whenever he wanted. 

This may be good actually, because the media is not really a place that allows politicians to appear. The old mainstream media…there is no such thing; there’s nowhere to turn – the news channels or newspapers that once used to be effective no longer exist. However, to what extent will Davutoğlu have the opportunity to get across his own will to 1) The AKP base and AKP itself, 2) Those not from the AKP but who may be interested in his movement. His job certainly does not look easy specially with the inevitable obstacles that Erdoğan will place – when I say inevitable, I mean obstacles that will definitely be placed in his way. 

Ali Babacan had given an interview to Karar newspaper, a long interview, and we had discussed this issue there too, that he has clearly stated that he would not be continuing with Davutoğlu and again when we spoke with Davutoğlu’s spokespeople at Medyascope, they had said that “Babacan thinks we are Islamists, he is trying to stay away from us.” This is such an aspect. Davutoğlu does not really use the word “Islamist” much, but he is trying to create the sort of “conservative democracy” that the AKP had been dubbed of trying to achieve. 

What Ali Babacan is doing, what he is trying to do, is beyond creating a centre party and therefore I think that this is stronger than Davutoğlu’s claim to trying to create a second AKP. When we look at it,  he says himself: “The day that our dismissal was proposed on the 2nd September is the day that the AKP has given up on its founding principles.” Meaning, Davutoğlu aims to conserve the founding principles and his own story up to a certain point. It will be remembered, during that period between June-November where the Sakarya speech was misunderstood by some, during the time he was prime minister, during the most chaotic days within the country – at least in recent history – during that period, he also chose to protect those principles. 

He did not approach that period with a critical eye; on the contrary, he had said that he was the main actor in the fight against terrorism during that time. Perhaps we can say that there is a Davutoğlu trying to settle account after he left or was made to leave his role. Before that there is a Davutoğlu truly raising his own importance and exaggerating his place; or we can say; there is a Davutoğlu owning the process up until the Pelican Notice. And this looks like it will make his life difficult, especially in terms of reaching out to fractions that have nothing to do with the AKP; so, he is at a point of limiting himself at a certain place.

When we look at Babacan, we cannot see such periods of separation but we can see that he is trying to place a certain amount of distance between himself and the AKP, Davutoğlu is not like that. He chooses to define the period from the moment he was chosen to be discharged. We look again, and there is still no blame given to Erdoğan regarding all of this. So, what is he saying? “The AKP has been abandoned to a narrow team”, the one responsible for this is Erdoğan, no one else, there are a few names that Erdoğan is constantly changing, there is nothing happening without Erdoğan’s knowledge. It is evident that Erdoğan is at the head of the central executive committee (MYK) that asked for the dismissal of Davutoğlu and his friends, and that this whole process has been carried out under his rule, but he still cannot mention Erdoğan – there is somewhat of a stiffness. 

Regarding what will happen after this; it appears that Davutoğlu will probably act even swifter in forming a new party such as Babacan who stated “Before 2020.” He has in fact acted a lot faster that Babacan regarding many issues, he explained his manifesto in April, he spoke on every occasion, he went on tv – I say TV, but I mean firstly via social media, and YouTube, and then TV – Davutoğlu’s team also came out and are speaking, yet Babacan isn’t there just yet. 

We must not forget; these two movements are competing against one another. All in all, there are two parties that will be formed from those who have broken away from the AKP and the aim of both of these parties will firstly be to gain followers from the AKP base and from those within the AKP, so they will be in a very serious competition against one another. 

During the second stage, they will try and reach fractions outside of the AKP, yet, it looks as if Babacan is in a more advantageous position currently. 

Yet we must also not forget that Davutoğlu and his team have created certain foundations, especially from the time he was chairman and prime minister; he has foundations within the party and state, we should not underestimate this. There are certain names that stand beside him there and they will take their place beside him and Davutoğlu’s movement will bring about some serious break offs. Thus, Erdoğan beginning the process to bring forward the date of the congress are his attempts to limit and block these break offs to a certain extent. 

I had said once before that Ahmet Davutoğlu having to leave the AKP will be the end of the AKP as we know it, and I want to repeat this once more. The press conference today has actually showed us once more how deep the AKP crisis is, how it is getting worst and will continue to worsen. When we look at it, by leaving the AKP, Davutoğlu and Babacan are both trying to weaken the AKP, it is inevitable. To what degree, this will only be clear depending on the steps they take and Erdoğan’s answers; but it is indeed inevitable. 

Yet, there is another very serious issue at hand; all these movement, together with all of these leaving, the AKP will stay behind. The AKP and these parties, even all together, will not make up the once strong and capable AKP. I know I’m repeating myself, but this is in the agenda, we know that when we add these up as 1+1+1, they won’t make 3, they won’t even make 2, in fact, they won’t even be able to make up the AKP that once was. Because this crisis involves all of them, they are all responsible for it. Therefore, due to the crises experienced here, they may be trying to reduce the damage that will be taken by jumping off the train early and bringing about some criticisms. 

But it is certain that they will all be impacted by this inevitable crisis experienced by the AKP. When we look at it as it is, we can see that the AKP under Erdoğan’s rule will make up the trunk – at least for a while more – afterwards we will wait, see and try and understand which party will come second or third from Babacan and Davutoğlu’s parties. In order to understand this, we will probably have to wait till 2020; because the parties will be formed, their teams and programmes will be determined; but as I said, all of these won’t ve able to make up an AKP and in this respect, the future of these three parties, will actually be determined by societal opposition and political opposition within Turkey.  And it will be important to see how these parties will be able to integrate themselves against societal opposition.

Currently, these movements look like a group of people who are not that opposed to the AKP but are resentful towards the AKP, especially Davutoğlu, and to a certain extent Babacan too. But they have not expressed serious criticisms against the AKP, because to do this they must criticise Erdoğan and his one-man management system. From that moment onwards – and it won’t be that late – from the moment they start expressing their criticisms, we will have the opportunity to make healthier comments regarding them. 

Yes, that’s all I have to say, good day. 

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