Turkey and Pakistan

Turkey and Pakistan

Pakistan is as peculiar a country as Turkey is. It is in the league of countries that have hanged their prime minister in recent history. It is a country where the military enjoys a special status – thanks to perennial animosities with India – not only in the defense of the country or in the making of security policies, but has a firm tutelage on politics. So far, unlike many other countries in the same league, Pakistan judiciary has succeeded in remaining independent and indeed above – at a cost of course – political back biting.

The death penalty is of course nothing but murder by the state since it cannot be defined as a corrective measure. Thank God Turkey has finally left that shameful application in its past. Still, so many decades later it is still a source of sorrow for this country, as much as it is for Pakistan I hope, that after the 1960 military coup Prime Minister Adnan Menderes and two of his ministers were hanged. 

I love Pakistan. It is a great country and a great nation. Hopefully it will manage to end the tutelage of military over politics, eradicate the feudal setup in politics, manage to overcome tightening Islamism and conservatism and emerge eventually as a land of democracy in that part of the world.

One may claim that under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) governance Turkey has walked a long road over the past decade towards instituting an “advanced democracy.” Military tutelage is long gone and as some critics claim the Turkish military has turned into a paper tiger, totally domesticated. The era of military coups has come to an end. With special prisons filled with on-duty and retired officers, including a former chief of general staff and many retired four-star generals, no one believes that the “castrated” military has the capability of overtaking the governance any longer, even if it might hold such an intention.

In Pakistan, however, the civilian president is still under the threat of a military coup and every other week there are rumors that a coup is in the making. Not only was the name of the state changed and officially made an “Islamic republic” during the reign of Zia Ul-Haq, but thanks to Zbigniev Brzezinski’s “green belt” strategy and Nixon’s containment of soviet expansion policies, Islamist-conservatism settled firmly on the country. While Pakistan was to be a launching pad for “liberalization” of Afghanistan, Afghanistan has become the launching pad for Islamist-conservatism of Pakistan. Are these wrong American policies? Well, right but not that simple. An entire nation is suffering from the consequences of such genetic manipulations of social setup.

Yet, there are signs that compared to Turkey Pakistan might have far better prospects of becoming a democracy (not an advanced one) if not only American but Iranian, Saudi and such foreign interventions can be curtailed and the Pakistani society is allowed to proceed on its own path.

Why this optimism? Did you hear about the ads placed in newspapers by Pakistani doctors appealing to the visiting absolute ruler from Turkey, worshipful master Recep Tayyip Erdoğan? Hundreds of Pakistani doctors appealed Erdoğan in that add to free eminent professor, prominent transplantation doctor Mehmet Haberal, who is jailed in connection with the Ergenekon trials. And Turkish doctors? They just did not have the courage and democratic culture to make such an appeal.