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Assa Abloy eCliq
IPS Analytics
AKP and Hizmet

AKP and Hizmet’s Ongoing Power Struggle in Turkey

Media reports have been rife with details of a major fall out between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Hizmet movement, particularly since a major corruption scandal in December and an ensuing investigation implicated very senior members of the AKP government. The Hizmet movement, whose members partly make up the top echelons of many of Turkey’s key institutions, are widely believed to have been behind the exposure of the scandal and have since been locked in a very public power struggle with the AKP.

For many observers, the March 30 local elections were a major litmus test for the popularity of the AKP and its leader, Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, since the corruption scandal and widespread demonstrations since May 2013 (known as the Gezi Park protests). AKP won the local elections resoundingly, leaving Hizmet and its leader, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, to lick their wounds. But although Hizmet is against the ropes, the power struggle is far from over and is likely to remain a key aspect of Turkish politics for the foreseeable future.

With this in mind, it is important to understand the Hizmet movement and put into context the fall out between Hizmet and the AKP, who had been key allies in the 2000s. Five Dimensions consultants have produced a detailed report that analyses this issue by:

  • Tracing the Hizmet movement back to its roots in the 1950s
  • Comparing the key ideological and political approaches of the AKP and Hizmet
  • Analyzing the main factors behind their alliance and subsequent fallout
  • Putting the local elections into perspective
  • Assessing Turkey’s future by answering the question “Where is Turkey headed now?”
  • Conclusions suggest a decline in Hizmet influence, but their continued attack on the government with the government response becoming more hard line against them. President Gul has already raised the question in the National Security Council of whether Hizmet poses a threat to Turkey’s national security

AKP will continue to enjoy the backing of the public as long as the economy remains fairly stable. The public is also unlikely to punish AKP in elections for what is perceived by many foreign observers to Turkish politics as an increased Islamization of the country. AKP will most likely advance its agenda of a moderate version of political Islam in Turkey.
Analysis also gives advice and tips for international companies doing business into Turkey and suggests that the current situation suggests business continuity and stability.  However, advice continues to suggest it is important that any business relationships with companies supportive of Hizmet need to be understood as the implications of this could affect government support.

The Five Dimensions report gives much more detail and the clearer understanding needed to allow proper business decisions to be made should you want to do business into Turkey. However, it is always recommended to get specific recommendations tailored to specific companies or industries and this can be provided by contacting Five Dimensions directly by emailing info@fived.org.

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