In fact, the AKP earned its reputation by telling the truth about what the party intends to do.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's reputation is particularly related with this perception. He was considered the leader that never lies. Thus, when the opposition parties argued that the AKP had a “hidden agenda” for the secular regime, people did not buy this argument. This is because Erdoğan's reputation as a leader that tells the truth prevented people from believing what the opposition parties were saying about him.
However, in recent months people discovered the other face of the AKP. Surprisingly, the party leaders, including Erdoğan, have been telling lie after lie to their own people. Worst, many of the AKP figures try to explain this hypocritical side of the AKP as the “nature of politics.”
The following is a list of the AKP's lies in the last year which have had a major impact on Turkish politics.
1) Before the June 2011 elections Erdoğan said, “If I were in power in 1999, I would have executed [Abdullah] Öcalan's death sentence.” It turned out that in the same week that Erdoğan said this, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was, with his permission, negotiating with Öcalan.
2) The AKP did not tell the whole truth about the Uludere incident, in which 34 innocent villagers were bombed by Turkish war jets, to the people, prosecutor and Parliament.
3) AKP leaders, including Erdoğan, recently said that the criminal courts that handled the Ergenekon, Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) trials will remain and the law will not change to alter these courts. But as of Saturday it turned out this promise was a lie, too.
4) On the jet crisis, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said and Erdoğan confirmed that the Turkish jet was shot down in international waters, but The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that this statement was not correct. The jet was downed in Syrian airspace and Turkish sources did not deny the WSJ article.
One can add many lies to this list but these are the four major lies that dominated Turkish politics over the past year. These are the issues that harmed Erdoğan's reputation as a man of truth. These are the issues that placed Erdoğan right next to old politicians, especially next to former President Süleyman Demirel, who was well known for his inconsistent statements and his motto “Yesterday is yesterday, today is today,” meaning whatever I said yesterday belongs to yesterday and I am not responsible for what I said yesterday.
When I bring up the issue, many AKP leaders “explain” that this is the nature of politics. However, it was Erdoğan's contribution to Turkish politics that politicians do not flip-flop but say things as they are. Such attitudes of the AKP leaders indicate that Erdoğan and the AKP have yet again adopted the same old political tactics to save the day instead of looking at the future.
There can be a number of reasons why the AKP leaders have rediscovered the old habit of Turkish politics, lying, after 10 years. One of the main reasons they've started to lie when faced with difficulties is because there is no alternative to the AKP. Thus, they think they are immortal and immune to political criticism. More importantly, they think they can manipulate people for a long time. When they lie to the people they count on Erdoğan's leadership skills, which still appeal to many.
I consider this a major problem for the AKP government for the years to come. As they continue lying to the people, they will realize that people will no longer believe these lies. Lying in politics is one of the worst addictions, which politicians cannot escape from. Thus, unless the AKP has a medical treatment that can help it refrain from lying, one can count down the days until the end of the AKP.