In 2001, Recep Tayyip Erdogan founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP), despite being banned from becoming Prime Minister by the judiciary for insightful speech, after reading a Pro-Islamic poem. Erdogan established the AKP by appealing to the center-right, nationalists, and conservatives in Turkey, drawing support and backing from a prominent members from other political parties. The AKP has consistently rejected claims that they are an Islamic oriented party, calling themselves “conservative democratic” and “conservative limited to moral and social issues,” even though the party draws vast swaths of support from Islamic reformists.
The party went on to win a landslide victory in the 2002 election, taking almost two thirds of all seats in Parliament. While Erdogan would have become Prime Minister, the earlier ban kept him from ascending to the position. A year later in 2003, changes to election law allowed Erdogan to take the Prime Minister’s seat.
Erdogan’s 2023 Vision outlined a number of goals for goals in preparation for Turkey’s centenary. The 2023 Vision included the accession of Turkey into NATO, negotiations for accession into the European Union, a recovery from the economic crash of 2001, and changes to the Constitution to emboldening he role of the President of Turkey.
Among other important issues, the Erdogan government aimed to begin negotiation with the Kurdish militants in the east and an infrastructure program aimed at developing high speed rail, airports, and roads.
On foreign policy, the AKP has been described as Neo-Ottoman and in support of engaging with the territories of the former Empire, but the leadership of the AKP rejects this as well.
Issues Facing the Newly Elected Cabinet
Human Rights and Freedoms
The Erdogan government will need to address a few important issues moving into 2002, many of which are in the area of human rights and freedoms. There is a demand for reparations from ethnic Jews and Christians living in Turkey whose property was confiscated within the country during the 1930s. There is also international pressure for Turkey to allow further freedoms of the press, with the Press Freedom Index considering Turkey a “difficult situation” in which to operate for reporters.
There is also the question of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered peoples’ rights–the Cabinet is being forced to remedy LGBT rights with the written scripture of Islam from the outset, even though the AKP is a secular party. This same principle holds for alcohol sale and consumption.
Economy and Infrastructure
The Erdogan government is inheriting a recession. However, thanks to reforms implemented by Shadow Minister Kemal Dervis, the economy seems to be leaving the recession. Ali Babacan, the current Minister of Finance, and Erdogan support the enforcing of policies that would attract foreign investors and life government regulations on business. Economic growth and innovation will happen if Turkey is more internally connected. Erdogan’s government should consider high speed rail and road development to better connect its citizens. Between 1923 and 2002, only 6000 km of roads have been created, and the density of the roads is cause for many car accidents throughout the country.
Education and Healthcare
Compulsory education is currently 8 years for all students minimum and the budget for the Ministry of Education is a low 7.5 billion lira. There is also the issue of low female enrollment in primary school.
The International Monetary Fund has also made clear its intentions for Turkey to better develop social security and health care throughout the country in negotiations over loan deals. Further criticism of the country’s healthcare system is the division of the hospitals and insurance providers into three divisions for different professions, each offering unequal service.
Justice, Corruption, and Surveillance
There will come a time in the Cabinet’s existence where seats in the judiciary need to be filled. The Supreme Board of Judges and the Erdogan government each claim the right to appoint the judiciary, especially in the high courts. Further, there is a question of the role of surveillance in the fight against corruption and in the insurance of human rights in the country of Turkey.
Turkish Society at the Turn of the Century
In the past two decades, Turkey has undergone incredible economic development, merging capitalism with a secular government and a nation that embraces its Muslim identity. This has allowed investment to pour in from Europe and for trade deals to be made between Turkey and other developing economies and Islamic countries throughout the Middle East. Mixing Islam and capitalism has lead to the rise of many cosmopolitan cities throughout Turkey, such has Gaziantep and Kayseri.
In the 1900s, events such as the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the Armenian Genocide, and the emigration of Jews and Levantines has lead to a dominance of Islam as the religion of choice for 99% of the population. Freedom of religion is, however, built into the Turkish constitution.
Turkish culture is a blend of Turk, Anatolian, Ottoman, and Roman traditions, with western ideals and values being adopted with the Westernization of the Ottoman Empire. Architecture sees a shift from Byzantine and Central Asian or Turkic design to a more western design throughout the 1900s. Turkish food is considered very prominent, with its location between Europe and the Middle east leading to its access of major spice trade routes.
Turkey has a vibrant media industry, however freedom of the press is constantly called into question by government actions.
Questions to Consider
- What roles does the press play in Turkish society?
- What are the rights of gender and ethnic and religious minorities living in Turkey? How should the cabinet evaluate the successes and failures of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law?
- For almost two decades, the Turkey — Kurdistan Worker’s Party Conflict has left over 40,000 people dead and includes a ban on Kurdish language, political campaigns, and names of cities and landmarks. How should the newly elected cabinet address the issue?
- What does Turkey stand to gain through the recognition of the mass murder of almost 1.5 million Armenians during the first World War?
- What is the influence of a bid for membership in the European Union over domestic policies?
- Should Turkey continue to implement Kemal Dervis’ economic reforms as the country slowly leaves a recession?
Committee Positions and Assignments
|Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
|Mehmet Ali ?ahin
|Deputy Prime Minister
|Deputy Prime Minister
|Minister of State and Minister of Economic Affairs
|Minister of State (Responsible for Women and Family Affairs)
|Minister of State (Responsible for Foreign Trade)
|Minister of Justice
|Mehmet Vecdi Gönül
|Minister of National Defense
|Minister of the Interior
|Minister of Finance
|Minister of National Education
|Faruk Naf?z Özak
|Minister of Public Works and Settlement
|Minister of Health
|Minister of Transport and Communication
The simulation of Erdogan’s Cabinet 2002 at the 2016 All-American Primer will operate as a non-dedicated crisis committee. Individual portfolios will be distributed the day of the conference. Contained within will be background for the characters and portfolio powers specifically designed for each, but individual actions will be somewhat restricted because there will not be dedicated crisis staff.
The committee will run in a permanent “casual” caucus, a less formal version of a moderated caucus.
To pass cabinet level actions (i.e. national policies, military actions, far-reaching programs, foreign relations), directives must be authored and co-signed by at least 3 other characters. Directives must pass with 2/3 majority, but national policies must theoretically be passed by the Parliament.