One should recognize that without Atatürk there would be no Kemalism. Atatürk's charm still keeps Kemalists rallying around Kemalism. The major success of Kemalism is its elastic nature and ability to transform the Atatürk figure into a mythical one. Then Kemalism can be applied to fit the changing circumstances.
Just like Kemalism, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is an organization based around a leader figure. Without the charismatic Erdoğan figure, the AKP would not exist. Just like Kemalism, the Erdoğan figure is also elastic, and the AKP strategists toy with the Erdoğan figure and resell it according to the changing circumstances.
For instance, in the last 20 years of his political career Erdoğan's image has been transformed into a mythical figure. In the beginning, the Erdoğan we knew was a young, attractive leader who solved people's problem. The Erdoğan that we knew when he was a mayor was a figure that fought against corruption. There was a rumor that even reached small Anatolian villages that, instead of accepting a bribe, Erdoğan, then the mayor of İstanbul, asked the company who offered the bribe to offer that amount as a discount to the municipality. The Erdoğan that we knew was a leader who could sit down with poor people and help them.
Indeed, many of these images are true; Erdoğan was the leader who did all these things -- just like Atatürk, who accomplished many of the things that the Kemalists highlight to show that Atatürk was a great leader.
The second stage of Erdoğan's evolution was Erdoğan as the political victim. When Erdoğan was imprisoned by the Turkish military, they tried to end his political career. The media tried to bury him and, as a result, his image entered a new era. Erdoğan has become the political victim of the powerful center. Erdoğan has transformed into a mythical figure.
Just like Mustafa Kemal, when the government of İstanbul tried to attack him, Erdoğan relied on Anatolia for support. Mustafa Kemal became the victim of the powerful center in İstanbul.
Both Atatürk and Erdoğan supporters used such victimization in later periods to paint the portrait of a humble leader who made sacrifices for his own people. In both cases, it was not the desire of the leaders themselves, but the plan of people around the leaders that created the victimized leader figure. Their supporters based their images on real facts and sold the politicians as heroes of the people.
The third stage of Erdoğan involved fighting the establishment; just like Atatürk, Erdoğan too took cautious steps to fight against the establishment of his own time.
Erdoğan is an international leader just like Atatürk, who earned his fame as an international leader. He did so by first establishing good relations with Western countries through attempts at modernization, abolishing the old system. Erdoğan, too, first gained the confidence of Western leaders by changing the old system through reforms. Second, just like Atatürk, who tried to export the model of his new Turkey to the Middle East, so too is Erdoğan trying to become a regional power. The shah of Iran and many other leaders in the Middle East admired Atatürk's success and tried to copy the Turkish model at that time. We see similar patterns in Erdoğan's leadership as well. First he established good relations with the West and now he is trying to sell the Turkish model to the countries of the Middle East.
The major difference between the two leaders is that Atatürk was implementing his policies with a predetermined project in mind; however, Erdoğan seems to have no predetermined project planned. Erdoğan is following his instincts. This strategy is unpredictable and can be dangerous for a nation.