The AK Party aka President Erdoğan didn’t want to make a coalition government, deciding the appearance of cooperation with the US on ISIS rather than the appearance of cooperation with ISIS on Syria plus bombing the PKK to isolate the Kurdish HDP party which had cost the ruling AKP party the last elections would allow AKP to win an outright majority snap elections. A good calculation. President Erdoğan has managed to bring the skill of being the worst ex-boyfriend ever to Turkish politics. Here’s a small list of his exes, Syria’s Assad once enjoyed a bromance with Erdoğan-- now Erdoğan wants to topple him. Fethullah Gülen and his movement were once a close coalition partner who helped engineer witch trials against the Turkish Military now are called the “deep state” by Erdoğan and his cronies and are frequently arrested. Turkish Kurds once had the opportunity for civil rights and peace talks but since they have stopped supporting the AKP and its desire for a president with near absolute power they are now a target both literally and figuratively. The most prominent member of Erdoğan’s ex-political spouse club is Abdullah Gül. Once the Medvedev to Erdoğan’s Putin, a founder of the AK party, forced to become president when being president meant nothing, not allowed to become Prime Minister when Erdoğan wanted to recast the role of President into one man rule. Gül is a man who in the midst of doing almost nothing is often seen as not corrupt. As a Chicagoan I know there are two kinds of “not corrupt,” one is the kind that you can’t conspire in front of someone without risking trial and the other is the kind that passes the cash stuffed envelopes around without pocketing any. The latter tend to become leaders since they look clean and have the loyalty of the easily bribed. Gül is likely the latter. Due to his lack of desire to have a king, his lack of desire for money, his lack of desire to push Turkey over the brink from democracy and secularism to strong man rule -- Abdullah Gül should found a new Islamist Party and split the AKP!
A potential savior of Islamism, Secularism and Democracy? By Splitting the AKP, Turkey is guaranteed a coalition government. A coalition is what is needed to resolve Ankara’s internal and foreign policy problems as well as to fight terror inside and outside its borders. The corruption of the Erdoğan regime, putting a toady in the Prime Minister’s office, weakening the Judiciary first to denude the military and then to undermine a Muslim movement has tarnished Islamism. Islamism is now another excuse to give power to someone who doesn’t deserve it. While I am happy to see Islamism discredit itself there remains a lot of Turks who see Islamism as the guarantor of their religious rights and economic aspirations. There is room in Turkey for a religious party that wants to put its shoulder to a secularist nation’s wheel and that party will appeal to a lot of Turks. In a coalition a Gül party would be either an important or leading voice. Political hacks and the ideological intolerant can stay in the AK party on the fringes alongside the right wing MHP party. A coalition of CHP, Gül, and the HDP will move Turkey forward, perhaps with Gül leveraging an AKP swing vote once in a while.
I’ve always saw Turkey as a pre-civil war society before and after the election of Erdoğan. Fault lines between secularism and religiousness run deep and Erdoğan struck me as “I’m an Arab too” kind of Islamist, he wasn’t bringing the live and let live kind of Turkish Islam Turkic peoples are known for and instead he wanted to out hate terrorists, out strong man dictators and simply spend Turkey’s cohesiveness as a society on imitating the Muslim Brotherhood rather than be a source of real unity. AKP is a party of zero faith, genuine religious movements have to be pro secular because people of faith will not corrupt themselves with people who are insincerely religious, religious movements do not want to be corrupted by the state. Abdullah Gül might be right man at the right time to lead Turkey into a positive future, now is the moment for the former President to take action and renew Turkey.