On Monday thousands gathered in Ankara to celebrate the 16th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Turkish AK Party. President and party leader Erdoğan announced that there would be 'fundamental' changes to the party in the run-up to the election campaign in 2019. The party has already undergone major changes since it was first founded, commentators observe.
What the AKP has achieved is a miracle
The pro-government daily Akşam takes stock of the situation positively:
“In spite of all the below-the-belt attacks, for 16 years this country has miraculously kept to its course of development, setting objectives and achieving these objectives as well as strengthening the political system and the will of the people against attempted coups. Yet the only power that Mr. Erdoğan and the AKP have relied upon is the democratically legitimised political support of the people. ... The AKP, which is 16 years old today and is still able to inspire Turkey, stands as a centre party that will continue to shape the country in the future. In fact its real golden age may just be dawning now. Because now we have a new governmental system and the attempts to bring the government down have failed.”
Erdoğan's former colleagues have retreated
Columnist Murat Yetkin remembers in the Hürriyet Daily News the AKP's entry into the Turkish parliament:
“As a journalist observing parliament's general assembly back then, it was striking to see how the AK Parti rows were almost all dark-haired and the CHP rows were almost all gray or white-haired. Clearly, the AK Parti represented a younger generation of politicians. Women remained heavily underrepresented, though in number there were more on the AK Parti list. Today, the outlook is quite different. It is true that a younger generation is coming and more women are on the lists of both parties. ... In fact, most of the key figures present at the establishment of the AK Parti are no longer in influential positions; indeed, some are no longer even in the party.”