On the other hand, the overall situation becomes extremely vague if you try to explore the reason for this conviction because it does not seem possible that the AKP sees the current developments as sufficient. The Uludere incident showed that the security-related bureaucracy may easily set traps for the government. The subsequent move by which an investigation was initiated into the former and current National Intelligence Organization (MİT) undersecretaries reminded all of the fact that a judicial coup could be staged against the government. Therefore, it is not possible to ignore the fact that the AKP is not fully in charge of the state and that a clash between pro-status quo and pro-reform figures has been going on within the state.
So how would we explain this contradiction? How could the AKP imagine that it would remain in power by preserving a state system that it does not control? The answer depends on the ability of the government to fool itself. After the retreat of the military to its “humble” position subsequent to the Ergenekon case, the reorganization of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the replacement of the MİT undersecretary and the reappointments in the police force, the AKP thought that it had produced a bureaucratic structure that would recognize the power of the administration and adapt to its preferences. But this party holds pretty naive expectations about the republican regime, which has been transferred from the era of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP).
The recent developments have demonstrated that the pro-CUP tradition has generated an anti-AKP coalition based on neo-nationalist ideology. What was striking in both the Uludere and MİT incidents was that the military and judicial bureaucrats who were responsible for these moves acted so boldly that they jeopardized their careers. This implies that the moves were based on prior deliberations on the division of work and labor and that those who made these moves felt they would be protected. In other words, there is a coalition of the willing with multiple actors that can force the government to make mistakes and weaken the administration.
The prime minister’s reactions show that the AKP will reconsider looking at the whole picture again. Maybe this time it will realize that the party’s reluctance toward introducing further reforms will turn into an alternate form of the status quo because the hands of its “opponents” are not tied. The ability of the government to have full control over the bureaucracy will take many years. During this period, the government and the AKP will be susceptible to manipulation regardless of their electoral support.
However, after the referendum and election victories, the AKP administration developed much confidence. They thought they could introduce reforms at a slower pace to protect the existing state system; in this way, they hoped to attract the attention and support of the elements within the state that had remained distant to them. At a time when a coup was unlikely and they remained undefeated at the electoral stage, they felt that there was no longer strong pressure to carry out reforms. They also concluded that the democracy they sought would become a possibility with a new constitution and that an approach that would seek the contribution and support of other political parties in the process of making a new constitution would make the AKP stronger and more legitimate.
In short, the AKP did not think, when it looked at the bigger picture, that the need for reforms declined. However, the progress that has been made and the growing popular support have led them to overlook the power of the bureaucracy. They thought that their rivals would acknowledge defeat and agree on a common middle ground. However, they were wrong because there was no middle ground for those that were for the status quo in the bureaucracy. Unless the AKP is subjected to a pro-Kemalist process of taming, the republican regime will take a different shape and outlook from this process of transformation and the 90-year-long status quo will leave the political landscape. Therefore, the neo-nationalists still keep struggling and fighting. And they make their moves through bureaucracy, instead of the people.
When the prime minister recently noted that they had responsibility vis-à-vis history, he, I think, was reminding us and himself of the difficulty associated with the process we are going through and the benefits and purpose of returning to the pro-reformist approach.