Erdogan the leader who is both government and main opposition

Erdogan the leader who is both government and main opposition

The big turn of the President of Turkey and Kemal Ataturk

The recent weeks in Turkey have been fascinating, as a careful observer can see that President of Turkey Recep Tayip Erdogan prepares his election campaign for the presidential elections to be held in Turkey in 2019 and is attempting to create a new profile. In this effort, being the leader of the ruling AKP party, he fully controls the members of the government as well as the Parliament and the municipalities, but on the other hand Erdogan criticizes the government, resulting in ministers backing down from already announced decisions!

A classic example of this situation took place in October. At the time the Treasury had announced a 40% increase in excise tax. This announcement, as was expected, prompted the reactions of many Turkish citizens. A few days later, Erdogan said he considered the increase excessive and instructed that this issue be re-examined. A few days later the Turkish government cut the rate of increase to 15%!

Another example of Erdogan’s “opposition stance” occurred a few days ago when the Interior Ministry announced it bans the tinted glasses on vehicles and the special dark filters that drivers place for protection from the sun. The ban was justified in terms of countering terrorism, etc. As millions of Turks have such windows in their cars and their replacement would have proven costly, the Turkish president again stood against the position. “I gave a mandate to reconsider this decision”, she said. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu immediately after the Erdogan’s statement announced that he ordered the traffickers not to impose fines and the matter will be reconsidered!

Erdogan also contested the municipalities, which are controlled for over 20 years by the Islamists. “Istanbul is filled with concrete, we must not allow the skyscrapers”, he stated in the last few weeks. Istanbul has been under the control of the Islamists since 2994, when he himself was elected mayor and since 2001 by the AKP, with 80% of the skyscrapers having been built on the AKP. The population of the city has tripled over the last 23 years and has reached 17 million!

In order to strengthen his opposition tactics and show that he was exonerated from the past, Erdogan led the mayors of Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Balikesir and of three other cities to resign.

The Turkish president is clearly attempting to exploit the political vacuum of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) failure to introduce new political ideas and views, as the only thing they promote is the party’s founder Kemal Ataturk party and its ideology. Erdogan now attempts to invade politically in this space, as at the day of the memory of the death of the founder of the Republic of Turkey he stated: “we will not allow Ataturk to become CHP’s monopoly. This party tried to use Ataturk as an instrument of ideological and political exploitation. We will not allow it because it is an important value of our country”.

Observers in Turkey, however, point to Erdogan’s turn to Kemalism. In his speeches on the founder of the Republic of Turkey Erdogan referred to him as “Mustafa Kemal”.

In his latest speech however, he referred to him with his surname, as Ataturk in the turkish language means the father of the Turks. This verbal change may play an important role on the road to presidential elections in Turkey, as the AKP which in the past so fought the Kemalists, now comes closer to Kemal Ataturk’s ideology with the aim to attract the votes of Turkish citizens./IBNA