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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid