Lessons to be learnt from Turkey

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Lessons to be learnt from Turkey

Ostensibly, Turkey has fared quite well under the banner of secularism and it stands out as an emerging economic power and potential military might in the region. Moreover, its strategic location has compelled even big powers such as the United States, Russia and Britain to cultivate friendly relations with Ankara. Obviously, these are plus points on which the Turkish nation can really count on. As we know, Turkey was once hub of instability because of incessant military interventions. No political government was allowed to complete its tenure. It was the time when term “ailing man of Europe” was coined for Turkey. But things changed drastically as soon as the Justice and Development Party took control of affairs.

Incumbent Prime Minister of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in jail when his party won landslide victory in the general elections. Mr. Erdogan was put behind bars for reciting a poem during a public gathering, which probably did not go well with the military and secular outfit of the country. Anyhow, after AK party success in the general elections the current President of Turkey Mr. Abdullah Gul was appointed as the prime minister at that time. He was to stay there as long as Mr. Erdogan was in jail. To cut the story short, court absolved Mr. Erdogan of all charges and was set free honorably. Later, he took over as the prime minister.

Now, the AK party wanted to bring Abdullah Gul as the president of the Republic, a proposal that evoked severe criticism from the opposition and the secular dispensation of the country. According to them, prime minister and president from the same party shall not bode well for democracy and the move might lead to ‘democratic dictatorship’. Exactly at the same time, Mr. Zardari in Pakistan was vying for the presidential slot.  Even at that time in one of my pieces on this subject, I had defended Abduallah Gul’s nomination as the president. My contention was that there was no harm in having him as the President if he could conduct himself in an impartial manner and for the welfare of his countrymen. Even, I had no problem with Mr. Zardari becoming the president if he could too discharge his official duties in an impartial way. But, even at that time I had my doubts about Mr. Zardari’s conduct. Mr. Abdullah Gul has surely proved himself as apolitical head of the State.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited Pakistan on May 21, 2012 and address the joint session of the Parliament and thus became the first foreign dignitary addressing the parliament for second time. The Turkish Prime Minister termed the friendship between his country and Pakistan “a historic association that is deeply imbedded in our people’s hearts and minds”. He said that the Turkish people can never forget the sacrifices of the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan during the Turk War of Liberation. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey considers Pakistan a brother and would extend unflinching support in addressing problems confronted by it specially the fight against terrorism.

A decade ago Turkish economy was also in disarray like ours. Even rank and file were struggling to make their both ends meet. But now Turkish economy happens to be one of the most vibrant economies of the world. The country has made great strides towards its goal to European Union membership. Besides, the government led by Tayyip Erdogan has done a lot for its people. On international scene, Turkey has emerged as a strong country — a country that would never allow anybody to cast an evil eye on any Muslim country.

Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, during his speech during the joint session of the parliament rightly declared Mr. Erdogan as the sole leader of Muslim ummah who has the guts to throw down the gauntlet. Our leadership ought to take some lessons from their Turkish brethren, especially they must learn how to govern a country and serve people to their satisfaction. After all, Mr. Erdogan and his party have given to the people of Turkey a new-look country only within a short span of time. Ostensibly, nothing is impossible for a willing horse. But our problem is, we do not have very many willing horses!!