The New Turkey Contract and Politics as a Responsibility - YASIN AKTAY

The New Turkey Contract and Politics as a Responsibility

One of the major contributions that the AK Party made to Turkish politics is, without a doubt, the election manifestos, in which each one was considered a contract between the people and the party. Election manifestos are texts that are prepared meticulously in the AK Party kitchen months ahead of every election that it has participated in. And as a result, the manifestos work like government programs. Surely the preparation of an election manifesto or a package of promises prior to the elections is not something specific to the AK Party alone. Many parties carry out similar work. However, neither the content nor horizon or plausibility of any of them is comparable to what is prepared by the AK Party.

The never ending and exaggerated promises parties make to their electorate when going to the elections, but also make clear their intention of not fulfilling those promises, actually largely harm the reliability of the politician in the eyes of the society. It turns the politician into a kind of peddler who is required to grab the votes with all sorts of misleading and deceptive marketing techniques.

We had previously seen many politicians who used to promise “two keys” or who would push the limits regarding the raises that will be given to civil servants and workers and the credits and grants that will be given to villagers, if they come to power. But frankly, when Süleyman Demirel promised, “I am giving five times whatever they offer to give,” he placed the bar so high in statements, that such promises became a routine of politics and it could not be exceeded.

Whereas, when the AK Party set off in 2001, in its party program, it had expressed many things it wanted to carry out on the political stage in a reasonable language, with the plausibility of feasible projects. Moreover, Erdoğan had remarked in election campaigns, “Don't expect us to make miracles happen within a short period of time.” The voters' confirmation of the AK Party was in a sense the credit they gave to reasonableness, realism and of course loyalty in politics.

Since that day, the AK Party has fulfilled more than what it had promised in its election manifestos, and in any case, it never promised anything that it couldn't do. This has actually brought another level of quality to politics. While in the past it was routine for politicians to promise things they weren't capable of doing and not deliver what they promised, the AK Party broke this routine and demonstrated that it is most certainly possible for politics to have a different style and method.

In addition to presenting the manifesto of this election at the candidate introduction meeting, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also read the 100-article New Turkey Contract that he authored. Had this contract been read not 13 but seven years ago, most of the statements would have sounded quite extreme even then because Turkey was not a country where you could hear such promises from the ruling party. We were very far from a government concept that focuses on human dignity and “recognizes" all ethnic and religious sections of society, considers their rights as part of “human dignity” and recognizing the protection of this dignity as the fundamental mission of the government. Hence, any article in Mr. Davutoğlu's New Turkey Contract, which we heard today, that may seem extreme, are no longer articles that we lack or we are very far from in Turkey today. They are all goals we have long set out to achieve. But it needs to be understood that this was made possible with the will demonstrated to date by the AK Party.

Looking at the steps taken particularly within the context of the reconciliation process, we can see that all of these steps were already written in the first party program all the way back in 2001. These steps were taken not by the force of certain figures, but as a result of the Ak Party staff's high sensitivity toward human dignity.

Some are taking the credit for this and may be trying to use this credit to indebt the Kurdish population. Whereas Kurds, who are free from assimilation, denial and destruction operations as a result of these steps, are indebted to nobody. And the AK Party has never claimed a favor for taking these steps. But nobody can deny that it was possible to take steps only with the political stance and will of the AK Party.

A government that pays attention to following up their promises against what they have done, the reliability the AK Party gained with its own hands, actually breaks all the routines we know regarding politics as a profession. Beyond being a profession, politics is also a responsibility. Once this is understood, political ranks are perceived not as hitting the jackpot, but rather a responsibility that should aggravate one's burden and concerns.

We are seeing and experiencing together that those who perceive and live politics as a responsibility bring a completely different level of quality to politics. Others see politics as a means to exercising power over people, satisfying the feeling of power or becoming rich. Of course, may such an understanding be far from us

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