Erdogan re-elected as AKP leader
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has further consolidated his power. On Sunday he was re-elected as the leader of the ruling conservative AK Party - a step only made possible by the recent constitutional referendum. While some commentators see the personality cult around Erdoğan as dangerous others hope he will be able to take effective measures both within his party and beyond party politics now.
Erdoğan's never-ending campaign
By enthroning Erdoğan as its leader the AKP has effectively abolished itself, Zeit Online concludes:
“Nationalist slogans have replaced the visions that once characterised the AKP. For three years Turkey has been locked in an artificial campaign mode. And judging by Erdoğan's statements, this looks set to continue until 2019. Erdoğan needs this tension and the cheap propaganda to keep the people behind him until the elections in 2019, when the transition to the presidential system à la Erdoğan will be complete. All decisions on party politics as well as all the decisions taken by the government are subordinate to this goal. ... The Erdoğan of the new era is the same as the Erdoğan of recent months. Because otherwise he won't be able to divert attention from the country's international isolation and economic woes.”
A new era begins
Milliyet sees grounds for optimism after the AKP party conference:
“Erdoğan has interpreted the referendum result as an alarm signal, and he's certainly the person best placed to analyse it. ... What's more, he knows where and how to use the scalpel to ensure an absolute victory in the three elections in 2019 - provided they take place as scheduled, that is. Erdoğan's statements and the list for the party executive approved at yesterday's party conference are the first signs of this. By the end of the year the party organs will be renewed and the state and district associations bolstered with young staff. There will be a return to the spontaneous house visits that made the AKP what it is today. The idea will be to reach out to all citizens, and expend considerable effort in those municipalities that don't work and have run out of steam.”