The AKP side of politics has a peculiar attitude: everything positive is Erdogan’s doing, while everything negative is because of someone else.

For example, back at the times when Turkey was facing no difficulty in obtaining credit from international markets, when the economy was doing just fine, no one attributed the success to Babacan or Mehmet Simsek. It was all about Erdogan’s miraculous economic policies. I am not even getting into whether they were indeed economic triumphs themselves. Or, when Europe was raining praise upon Turkey it was thanks to Erdogan’s masterful foreign affairs management, but when things turned sour, the fault lied with the minister.

That’s how politics work on that side of the aisle. The fact that there are proverbs by the president hanging in the newly opened Camlica Mosque rather than Islamic verses or hadiths, says all we need to say about how far the attitude has gotten. Erdogan has seemingly taken a holy position, his words have become sacred, and he can do no wrong.

But now we see symptoms of the same disease over on this side as well. Everyone s talking about the Pelicans: “Actually, Erdogan didn’t want to renew the elections. It was the Pelicans that forced his hand. The Pelicans have preyed upon the AKP. The party used to be so democratic, but damn those Pelicans!”

When we talk about Pelicans, we are talking about the Pelican Memorandum that was written against Davutoglu while he was the prime minister. It is alleged that this group’s headquarters is a mansion along the Bosporus coast, and that they have trained AKP trolls to be active in social media. It is said that some journalists are members of the organization. I can’t vouch for the validity of these claims, though.

This Pelican business has been helping Erdogan wriggle his way out of his bad policy decisions since 2013, by delegating the blame to the Pelicans.

But was Ahmet Davutoglu really pushed out of his prime minister position by the Pelicans? Let’s take a look: The year was 2016. Thanks to Arab Spring, the world was expecting Muslim Brotherhood to take over the entire Middle East. Turkey, then, would be ruling over the region by proxy. These short-sided foreign policy goals were never reached, of course. Erdogan soon realized that his plans were not going to take hold, so he took a turn towards nationalism. He took note of the rising wave of nationalism around the world, calculated what he can gain from it, and began to play along. Now he seems to be stuck. He has way less elbow room, and not much distance to move. Well, what goes up must come down.

We need to face the facts. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, since 2002, is responsible for every domestic and international policy that Turkey has implemented. He has long been the only decision maker in his party. It all belongs to him, the bad with the good.

There may of course be an entity called Pelican that is directing the AKP trolls. And if it does exist, it follows logically that they would try and cast the blame for Erdogan’s failures towards themselves.


Originally published in Turkish at: