The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had its first usual congress on Sept. 12, 2003. On Aug. 27, the party had its first extraordinary congress.
On May 21, the AK Party will hold congress, its third extraordinary and its sixth ordinary one in 2018.
When compared to the congresses of the opposition, especially to those of the Republican People's Party (CHP), AK Party congresses are rather calm. Chairs don't fly in the air and quarrels and fights don't happen in the party's congresses. The AK Party has its congresses in full discipline, ordinance and dignity. Discipline, calm and dignity are all due to ordinance; as the AK Party's congresses are full of excitement, slogans, cheering and enthusiasm starting from early on in the day.
When the first congress took place in 2003, the AK Party was unjustly criticized for its discipline, tranquility and dignity. The press, which was used to watching stormy congresses, found this order and ordinance odd. The AK Party developed its own tradition in its congresses too. It showed the whole world that political parties could have congresses without disputes, fights and conflicts.
Congresses are supposed to evaluate the past and shape the future. The AK Party evaluated itself and drew up new road maps for itself during these seven congresses.
Every congress the party had was a base for the party to refresh itself and make new beginnings.
Thus, the party is going to the May 21st congress with this same mindset.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was chosen during the first congress on Aug. 27, 2014, but the president who had not yet taken over his duty, attended the congress as the prime minister and chairman of the AK Party. He had said his farewells to his delegates during the congress and read the verses of the Quranic chapter of al-Fatiha (The Opening) in his last speech: “This is not an end, this is al-Fatiha, an opening, a new beginning,” which was not a farewell speech.
That parenthesis is closing on May 21. Once again, Erdoğan will become the chairman of the AK Party.
Erdoğan becoming chairman once again is reason alone for excitement for the AK Party and Turkey. This new beginning, or better said, starting over again, will lead to a new wave of excitement and motivation. The AK Party will take on its two elections in 2019 with its leader, thus with full self-confidence.
The May 21 congress will clearly be the base for renewal and refreshment, just like it was in the previous seven congresses.
Besides sincerely evaluating itself, constantly refreshing itself and keeping its excitement alive are the reasons the AK Party has written its success stories in the past 15 years. While the other parties try to settle their internal issues through fists and fights, the AK Party deals with its issues under the guidance of a strong leader, free and critical party mechanisms, traditions of the party, respect and dialogue.
Besides, the AK Party has the responsibility to govern the country too. Therefore, during every congress it holds, the party offers the country tangible and real achievable goals and policies. The party stood in front of the nation, offering it new goals and policies during the previous seven congresses, and thus conserved its success.
Surely, the AK Party will offer the nation new goals, a new vision and new policies as well in the May 21 congress.
Fundamentally, the change in system that went through on April 16, 2016 will force the political parties to change themselves too. The AK Party is the party that will actually change the system, thus it will stand in front of the nation on May 21, offering the people a vision that fulfills the new system and new state.
May 21 will be a turning point both for Turkey's political history and for the AK Party's 16-year adventure. The AK Party will show once more that it will start over again and be active in Turkey's politics and continue to stay in power.
Not only Turkey, but the entire region will have their eyes on the May 21 congress. The hearts of the oppressed around the world will be beating at the congress, just like it did in the previous seven congresses.
The AK Party will hold such a congress that not only the AK Party or the 80 million Turkish population, but all the neighboring nations will look to the future with excitement, hope and confidence.