Tips from the Ottoman Empire. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his presidential palace.
In November 2002, the newly formed AKP won its first election and entered parliament. After an era of reforms, the party under Erdoğan has now become a nationalist state party that has taken control of the judiciary and administration.
At the moment of his triumph, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chose his words carefully. When the 48-year-old politician appeared in front of television cameras on the night of November 3, 2002, he knew that part of Turkish society feared him and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) as an Islamic threat. The AKP, founded just a year earlier, had just won an absolute majority of parliamentary seats in early elections, and the parties that had been in power until then were expelled from parliament. Erdoğan has vowed to use his newfound power for more democracy in Turkey.
“Our party is ready to assume government responsibility and lead our people to better times,” he said. “We will strengthen constitutional institutions, accelerate Turkey’s accession to the European Union and promote Turkey’s integration into the world economy. And we will respect the lifestyle of all citizens in doing so.” Twenty years later, the AKP is still in power, but under very different circumstances than at the beginning of its era that November night. Today’s AKP is a nationalist state party that has taken control of the judiciary and administration, distrusts Europe and arrests government critics.
In retrospect, Erdoğan’s promises of November 2002 may seem like pure mockery, but at the time there were high hopes for the AKP, recalls political scientist Ilhan Uzgel, a longtime professor at Ankara University, Turkey’s traditional elite forge. State. “There was so much hope back then, I experienced it myself, and all my colleagues, students and friends,” says Uzgel. “We had a lot of hope that democracy would come.”