I don’t know how many times I have covered political party conventions.
As usual, I am again covering the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) convention.
Looking at it, this is what I have realized one more time. Whether you accept it or not, “nothing is going to be like in the past.”
People, tens, hundreds, men and women are listening to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan under the trees.
There are youngsters standing right next to me; they are from Merzifor. Next to them stands an old guy. His eyes are on the giant screen. The delegation coming from Niğde stands up with enthusiasm and starts cheering when he says, “Sultan Alparslan.”
It is striking.... While Erdoğan speaks inside, those outside are just as excited as if they are standing next to him.
The situation inside is no different. There is such a scene when Erdoğan walks onto the stage set up in the middle. Delegates give him a standing ovation, taking his photographs at the same time….
All of the spectators are taking photographs and clapping their hands.
You can’t differentiate delegates from spectators. There is the same excitement.
Özal, Demirel, Gül and Erdoğan’s difference
When (late Turgut) Özal went up to Çankaya Palace, the mood in his party, ANAP, was not like this, because he had said farewell.
When Süleyman Demirel went up to Çankaya Palace, the mood in his party, DYP, was not like this, because he had said goodbye.
When Gül spoke to the AKP when he went up to Çankaya Palace, the mood was not at all like this, because he had said farewell....
Yet today there are two differences with Erdoğan.
1) In contrast with Özal, Demirel and Gül, Erdoğan, has been elected by the people. Therefore he uses the expression “the first president elected by the nation.”
2) He did not say goodbye to his party. He is taking the center stage as the executive.
Therefore, there is no air of sadness, nor a feeling of farewell.
When looked from that perspective...
A preparation in the near future for a Constitution with a semi-presidential system looks certain.
Yesterday I recalled all the party conventions I have covered in the past. It seems all are part of history now.
When I look at the people present, I see the same question in the eyes of some: “Will Erdoğan fill the space of Erdoğan?”
But I think this is the wrong question.
In fact, Erdoğan, in a way, answered these questions by saying several times in his speech that the “AK Party has never been a one-man party.”
From another perspective, in my mind, Davutoğlu is not filling a space vacated by Erdoğan, because Erdoğan did not say goodbye in a traditional sense.
In fact, there is a transition to a new type of administration. In this new type of administration, it seems clear Erdoğan and Davutoğlu will work closely together.
Therefore, it would be wrong to place Erdoğan’s charisma as a reference point in front of Davutoğlu.
Peoples or principles
Erdoğan underlined an important detail in his speech. That was: “We are not a party of people, but [of] principles.”
I interpret this emphasis as a message that Davutoğlu will not take over.
What is being confided is principles, and the most emotional part of the convention was when Erdoğan said, “I trust you, my love.”
How can anyone say he said farewell to his party? Who can say goodbye to his or her children?