Jul 05 2018

The new order in Turkey is partly a family enterprise - analyst

Turkey’s new order is in part a family enterprise with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son and sons-in-law becoming the most influential people in the country aside from the president himself, Tom Stevenson wrote in the Times Literary Supplement on Tuesday.

Beneath the dressing made of President Erdoğan’s machismo and bullfighter style, his recipe for staying in power has always been a steady, organised and skilful co-option of the organs of state combined with government-led infrastructure spending and a compact with the Turkish business elite, according to Stevenson.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) runs a countrywide network of patronage, charities, religious orders and “youth groups”, while President Erdoğan is always careful in his relations with business elites by courting old families like Koçs, Eczacıbaşıs and Sabancıs and adding new names into the AKP orbit, Stevenson explained.

Stevenson argues that the religious element to the President Erdoğan/AKP order has often been exaggerated. “The president himself certainly plays up to religious fervor when it suits him, but everything he has done is explicable in terms of chauvinistic nationalism,” he said. 

President Erdoğan thinks his unique abilities have created the achievements of Turkey and in recent years he has also begun to transcend the AKP itself according to Stevenson. “This has some of the AKP leadership ruffled – one of the party’s biggest names complained to a colleague of mine in London earlier this year that Erdoğan “doesn’t listen to anyone any more” – but they’re in no position to do anything about it,” he wrote, adding that, the new order in Turkey in part is a family enterprise.