News / Europe

    Erdogan Sets Stage for Turkey's Future

    Turkey's PM and leader of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan (R), throws carnations to supporters during his party congress in Ankara, September 30, 2012.
    Turkey's PM and leader of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife Emine Erdogan (R), throws carnations to supporters during his party congress in Ankara, September 30, 2012.
    Dorian Jones
    ISTANBUL — Turkey's ruling party recently held key meetings to lay out policies for the country's next decade. In a keynote speech, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this will be his last parliamentary term -- but he hinted he might seek the presidency to build on his near-decade in power.

    More than 10,000 members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP, gathered Sunday for its party congress. The centerpiece of the meeting was an address by Erdogan in which he outlined the country's future -- mentioning the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic in 2023.

    x
    "We have a bright future. Our country has the potential to be one of the greatest powers of its region and the world,"  he said.  "We will continue to advance toward our 2023 targets and build Turkey's future hand in hand with our nation."

    Erdogan was re-elected leader at the party congress but confirmed that his current term as prime minister will be his last, in compliance with a party regulation that forbids more than three consecutive terms in office. However, he hinted at possibly contesting that regulation saying "the music pauses but does not end."

    For political columnist Cengiz Aktar of the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman, Erdogan's message was clear.

    "In between the lines, what we heard [is] 'I will be running this country, be it as a president or a prime minister, forever.'  That was his very clear message.," opined Aktar. "That was also the tone of the entire congress."

    Analysts said one main obstacle to Erdogan's presumed presidential ambitions is a resurgence in fighting by Kurdish rebels of the PKK.  According to opinion polls, the violence has resulted in increasing criticism of the government.

    Erdogan used Sunday's congress to address the Kurdish minority, stressing the reforms introduced by his government.  He said politics, rather than violence, is the only way to find a solution to the decades-long insurgency.

    But analysts said the prime minister's efforts on the Kurdish issue may have fallen short. For now, he has ruled out such Kurdish political demands as local autonomy - a goal strongly opposed by Turkey's powerful nationalist constituency.

    Soli Ozel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University said the AK congress revealed the prime minister's strategy for the country and a future presidential campaign.

    "I was at the congress yesterday. I heard the language. I have seen the symbolism. It's all in reference to religion," said Ozel. "Everything is discussed in reference to religion, with a pinch of nationalism. He is appealing both to the religious and to the nationalist sentiments of 60 to 65 percent of the electorate which are in the right part of the spectrum and that constitute overwhelming majority of the Turkish electorate."

    Such a stance complements Erdogan's foreign policy goals: presenting Turkey as a model to the Muslim world.

    The AK meeting drew leading political figures from mainly-Muslim countries across the region, including Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Political columnist Aktar of Today's Zaman said the congress clearly indicates the future direction of Turkey.

    "He [Erdogan] underlined, repeated, stressed a kind of new vision for Turkey, with a lot of pretension and ambition toward the world and in particular toward the Muslim world," said Aktar.

    Erdogan did not mention the European Union during his nearly three-hour speech.  Until recently, securing EU membership was a foreign policy priority of the government.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora