Lessons from Turkey | Pakistan Today

Lessons from Turkey

Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan is in Pakistan where he has expressed full support for post-flood reconstruction. One wonders if Prime Minister Gilani ever asked his Turkish counterpart how his government managed to make some of the outstanding achievements in economy, controlled terrorism, balanced powerful institutions, and turned Turkey into a major player in the Middle East. Since 2003, when Erdogan became Turkeys Prime Minister, GDP per capita has climbed by 150 percent leading to a remark by a Western commentator that Turkey once called the Ailing Man of Europe is perhaps now the only healthy country on the continent. In spite of Indonesia being the largest Muslim country and Pakistan the sole nuclear Muslim state, Turkey outshines both in prestige and influence in the Muslim world.

Pakistan has followed the US policies blindly under two military generals without getting its debts written off or issues with India resolved. Turkey under Erdogan has acted in a more balanced way, maintaining good working relations with the US but differing on crucial issues like passage to US troops into Iraq in 2003. Despite the Islamic credentials of the ruling Justice and Development Party, its government has negotiated between Israel and Syria, but distanced itself from Israel when it attacked Gaza. Turkish President Abdullah Gul made it known after assuming office his party had bid farewell to political Islam, something the ruling coalition in Islamabad would not dare to say. Still Turkey enjoys the trust of the Palestinian groups and of neighbouring Iran. The present Turkish rulers have turned parliament into the most powerful institution. The armys hold on power has been weakened and the judiciary has been confined strictly to its sphere defined in the constitution. On the other hand, the government in Islamabad has yielded its turf to army and judiciary.

While Pakistan has benefited from Turkish assistance during the devastating earthquake and the recent floods, one wishes that those in Islamabad also take some lessons in statesmanship from the Turkish leadership.