Following Berat Albayrak’s declaration on his Instagram account that, ‘I am leaving my post as the Head of Treasury and Finance’ the most discussed topic within the political and economic circles has been the question of whether his resignation was going to ‘have an impact on the direction of economic policies seen under the one man rule’.
Only a few penguins has shown sign of tears following Mr Albayrak’s Departure. This is partly due to the arragont temprament shown by Mr Albayrak towards his colleagues during his time as the head of Treasury. The AKP and Mr Erdogan, has tried to create the perception that his resignation was so ‘miniscule that they only realised it after 27 hours’. However, opposition economists portrayed Mr Albayrak as a ‘scape goat’. The neoliberal economists on the other hand, have seen the tensions within the government to call for ‘new reforms’ and ‘new beginnings’. Their calls were welcomed by Mr Erdogan and the new head of Treasury Mr Elvan and the New head of the Central Bank Mr Ağbal were appointed.
We will consider this perspective of the argument separately tomorrow. However, what we can say from now is that, including Erdogan’s cry that from here onwards ‘The economy is my responsibility, mine!’, there is an attempt at trying to shift away from his prior economic and political responsibilities. In fact it can further be seen that Mr Erdogan is almost on the ‘verge’ of saying ‘ I was not aware how bad the economy was heading’
Considering these developments, would we expect to see Mr Erdogan proclaiming that Mr Albayrak had deceived him? One thing is clear, the answer to this question is not a straight forward one. Partly because, in autocratic regimes the place of the family and the role of the family members are very important. As autocratic regimes will hope to continue their ‘dynasty’ through the next generations within their blood line. There is never an exception to this rule. Mr Albayrak was hope to be the next ‘heir’ to this ‘dynasty’. In such a hope he was first appointed as the Energy Minister, then promoted to becoming the Head of Treasury and Finance.
Hence Mr Albayrak’s unexpected resignation and the circumstances of his resignation must have caused great disappointment to those hoping to see him as the next heir. The fact that he has left without writing a formal resignation letter nor taking part in a hand over ceremony must have added to the disapointment felt by his supporters.
It can be argued that with this move Mr Albayrak not only jeopordised his own polictical career but also left an unforgettable ‘mark’ on the reputation of the ‘one man rule’.
Mr Albayrak, joined the Erdoğan family thorugh matrimony! He is also part of the “Albayrak family” whom he shares blood ties with. He continues to have very close bonds with the Albayrak familia. Furthermore, during the 18 years rule of the AKP party the Albayrak family have acquired the Turkuvaz Media Group(*) becoming more powerful and holding a large economic influence. In this respect, Mr Albayrak holds an important role within the family, not soley as a son in law but also as a representative/defender of the capita. Thus, declaring Mr Albayrak as a ‘scape goat’ is simply not an option for Mr Erdogan.
Hence, Mr Albayrak can not simply be puhed aside and forgotten about like his previous comrades. Mr Albayrak’s knowledge of the internal family affairs and the economic influence he has on the overal economy thorugh his own family ties, will prevent him being pushed aside as easily as the others.
The influence of the Erdogan family over the Albayrak family is also irrevocable. As the Albayrak family has acquired much of their wealth during the 18 years rule of the AKP party. Hence, the continuation of Erdogan’s rule is critical for the continuation of their wealth.
Simply for this reason, it it highly likely that Mr Albayrak’s resignation fuelled by being ‘treated like an ordinary minister’ within the autocratic rule is likely to be ‘forgotten’ as an act of ‘youthful disobedience’. Because the interest of the Erdogan, Albayrak and many others whose livelihoods are dependent on the continuation of the one man rule will not want to see a different approach which might jeopordise their interest.
In fact, Mr Albayrak’s father, who is an influential writer within the circle of AKP voters has commented on his sons resignation by stating that; “We will stand side by side with the AKP party and Mr Erdogan til death’.
Hence, we can not simply see the family relations within autocratic rules as the immediate family of the ruling family. The ‘family’ relations are more complex. The ‘family’ includes anyone or any firm who vests an economic interest in the survival of the one man rule. Thus, the relations within such ‘families’ are securely knit with binding interests.
The one man rule which we see today was achieved through the 18 years of AKP dominance. The benefiters of this rule has gained a strong economic dominance over the 18 years. Therefore, Albayrak’s resignation can not simply be considered as the resignation of a ‘son in law’ but rather needs to be considered within the dynamics between family - capita-one man – the dynamics of one man rule. Only then can we start to make a more accurate analysis.
(*) The list of companies under the ALBAYRAK family are; İnşaat, imalat sanayi, over 30 companies in the fields of lojistics, retail and media, the factories responsible for the production of tractors, motor cycles and vehicle accessories found under Tümosan. Also Textiles, paper, sugar, and insutrial companies. The family also has public transport networks as well as construction, recycling, port management companies in Pakistan and Somalia.