Hypocrisy or what?
The Pakistani “brothers” of Turkey are in very serious condition nowadays. Ankara is pressing hard to convince Islamabad to take over a network of schools belonging to the Fethullah Gülen Islamist brotherhood – or as has become fashionable nowadays in Turkey, the “FETÖ Terrorist Gang.” With thousands of children, including those of the ruling elite of the country, attending those schools and the group “not yet” declared a terrorist group in Pakistan, the Islamabad government just cannot decide what to do.
Perhaps a Turkish “national education company” might take over the so-called “Turkish schools” in Pakistan and elsewhere abroad, but how will the “private ownership” or “propriety” problem be solved if owners don’t agree to such a takeover? How to solve this problem? Turkey has some ideas, but Pakistan has laws not suitable to demands such as “I want it so that’s the way it ought to be.” Pakistan has always been brotherly to the Turks but it has its own peculiarities and after all the country is an “Islamic republic” which might have difficulty explaining to its citizens why it started a crackdown on an Islamist brotherhood which was not at all involved in a crime in Pakistan.
In Turkish Cyprus the government immediately acted and declared the Gülen group a terrorist organization on July 16. Though lately, to a much lesser degree, Gülenists, like other Islamist foundations and associations, have long been supported in many ways through the Turkish Cypriot religious affairs department, as well as the Turkish aid department within the Turkish embassy.
Not only does the group have many associations, there are claims that people having affinity with the Gülenists own some casinos and eminent hotels in a country that heavily relies on tourism revenues. Could the Turkish Cyprus government walk the same road that Ankara set down on the night of July 15 and nationalize all the businesses owned by the group that it already declared a terrorist organization? Naturally, if the Turkish Cypriot government needed money for such a nationalization campaign the slush fund of the Turkish presidency might be at its disposal but how appropriate would be taking such an action for an economy which has been relying so much on foreign – that is, mainland Turkish – investments? If just because the political government in Ankara wanted some companies to be taken over, why would anyone invest in that highly risky small republic recognized only by Ankara?
Would, for example, a famous Turkish singer often alleged of financing a separatist group who already has a hotel and a casino, besides some other investments in Turkish Cyprus, continue investing there seeing that with Ankara’s persuasion, if not instructions, all his assets there might be “nationalized” the moment the climate in Ankara changed?
All throughout the world the Gülen group has companies, mostly educational institutions. These institutions were the pride of many past governments, including the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government until a power sharing war erupted between the two particularly after 2013.
Pakistan, Turkish Cyprus and perhaps governments of many other friendly nations have difficulty in answering the demands of Turkey to forget about compatibility with law, norms and principles and demonstrate their loyalty and friendship with the AKP governance. The Americans, for example, cannot say much to Ankara insisting that they should not demand concrete evidence of the involvement of Fethullah Gülen in the attempted coup as the coup attempt itself ought to be considered a more than enough evidence of his criminality. On the one hand Gülen has been a LPR (lawful permanent resident) and there are strict extradition rules, while on the other hand there is Turkey challenging to reconsider its allied relations with the United States should Gülen was not speedily extradited.
A joint team examining the issue, ministerial contacts and whatever other measures taken will not help relations between the two countries go through a rough ride in the weeks ahead. Eventually, will the Americans extradite Gülen and risk their own reputation?
The AKP government has been fuming over remarks questioning whether President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was consolidating his super president ambitions by using the coup attempt as a pretext. While the entire world remained calm and no one ever thought of questioning whether a state of emergency declaration by France could compromise human rights, freedom of expression or such, the AKP has difficulty in understanding why so many people would voice concern with the emergency rule declaration in Turkey.
No one could so far clearly point to the pre-coup attempt performance of the AKP and tell Ankara, “We know your performance without emergency rule and wonder what you might undertake with such extraordinary powers.” Ankara was even appalled that so many days after the coup attempt no Western ally had visited Ankara to demonstrate solidarity.
Was it hypocrisy? Was it failing to live up to Turkey’s expectation from friends and allies? Or was it a reflection of the bitter reality Turkey is sailing through?