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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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