[CAFE CAPITAL] Probability AK Party will not be closed: 51 percent
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies are discussing a decrease in the possibility of their party being shut down. When asked what factors strengthened their optimism, most deputies cited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s comfortable and sound-minded attitude as the primary reason.
A significant number also mentioned the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decision to relegate Turkey to the division of second-class democracies and to start monitoring it. The third factor was Prime Minister Erdoğan’s meeting with Land Forces Commander Gen. İlker Başbuğ.
A deputy, referring to National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli’s oft-repeated suggestion, said: “Bahçeli suggested that our party be cloned. When this suggestion was not considered, he asked that Erdoğan step down because he, supposedly, knew what was going to happen. Bahçeli is clever enough not to suggest on his own things that go against political courtesy. Those able to estimate the grave consequences of closing down a party are speaking through Bahçeli. The prime minister delivered a speech that made the MHP leader regret his suggestion, thereby demonstrating his determination to carry on. However unimportant these may seem, they are details that offer us clues as to whether or not the party will be closed.”
Another AK Party deputy spoke of impressions circulated through the media. “The Taraf daily is waging a significant struggle for democracy with its liberal publication and has published very important documents, such as the road map on social engineering prepared by the military and titled ‘Lahika-1,’ which directly relates to party closure. If the ruling party is shut down, it will be tantamount to a coup to overtake the civil administration. The revelations that this coup is being staged by judges who think like soldiers, and now directly by soldiers, is a situation that will cast a long shadow on the impartiality of the judiciary.
“Can those suggesting that PACE’s decision is meant to influence the judiciary defend this document? Of course not. I think the revelation of this document is an important development that suggests the party will not be shut down. On the other hand, the militant periodical Aydınlık, controlled by Doğu Perinçek, currently on trial for his role in the Ergenekon terrorist organization, continues to publish articles that target Haşim Kılıç, the president of the Constitutional Court. The current ideological balance among members of the court is known to suffice a ruling in favor of closure; so if this balance hasn’t changed, what benefit would they derive from attacking Kılıç?”
We discussed the increasing morale within the party with a very close aide to Erdoğan. This legal aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “I can say that the possibility of not being shut down has gone up to 51 percent. Our colleagues’ commentaries are accurate for the most part.”
The ruling will be made by the end of July. When asked what the AK Party plans to do if August arrives and the party is not shut down, the legal aide noted that the first step would be engaging in self-criticism. “We will form an atmosphere where all institutions, including the opposition, can engage in self-criticism. We will place a greater emphasis on that we are not against secularism and that we can never be against secularism. We will demonstrate that we are standing behind promises made on the balcony of the party headquarters on the evening of July 22.” Despite the looming Constitutional Court ruling, AK Party deputies and essential staff are entering July with high spirits. Having taken measures to prevent the party’s closure, the party’s leadership also seems psychologically ready for the possibility that it may remain open.
Two football-filled weeks
The national football team’s magnificent performance in Euro 2008 has proven to be a magic wand that temporarily distracted the country from its current problems. A former Democratic Left Party (DSP) deputy said: “The chief target of politics is to lead the society toward a fulfilling life. And civil society organizations struggle to that end. However, interestingly enough, although everyone is focused on the same target, our country has been a scene of tension and combat as part of this struggle to attain a fulfilling life. Our national team has achieved this; they made us forget our problems for two weeks and allowed us to live that life in a real sense.” Expressing his wish for the society to take away lessons from the team’s achievement contrary to attempts of those allegedly fighting for a fulfilling life to sabotage social welfare, he said: “We have started to appreciate that these vicious debates that wear out our psychological stability will not bear any fruit. I hope that the socially comforting power of football will help greater masses grasp this reality.”