Pakistanisation of Turkey: A conspiracy of comparison

There are some semblances in both the countries and the narrative is almost similar, and the chief sponsors of extremism are also common.

Pakistanisation of Turkey: A conspiracy of comparison

Mohammad Pervez Bilgrami - India

After the recent incidents of extremism in Turkey, some observers, whose anti-Turkish biases are apparent, started comparing the current law and order situation in the country with that of Pakistan. They have even coined the ominous phrase "Pakistanisation of Turkey" with a clear aim to mislead people while instigating their European or foreign audiences to think whether the extrem attacks are turning Turkey into another Pakistan, which has been afflicted by extremism.
 
There are some semblances in both the countries and the narrative is almost similar, and the chief sponsors of extremism are also common. Likewise, there are also the regional rivals of Turkey ready to support various US war schemes in the region. The US along with its supporting enterprises, the NATO and EU, has been using Afghanistan as a base to destabilize Pakistan. Similarly, the US is deeply involved in Syria and Iraq, the two lawless neighbors of Turkey, which faces threats from a bunch of extremist organizations like PKK, ISIL, DHKPC and other offshoots of PKK. Some of these extremists are openly allied with the US, while others have clandestine links with key Western countries.
 
Though there may be certain seemingly parallel factors, there are many strong reasons why Turkey can never be compared with Pakistan. Despite several extrem attacks in the recent past, the so-called "Pakistanisation of Turkey" is beyond any possibility. Turkey's geographical as well as historical perspectives make it quite different from Pakistan. The term as ominously coined by the most Western-minded conspirators is, therefore, total rubbish and reflects their deep sense of frustration arising from the failure of numerous coup attempts.

Turkey has very old institutions, many of which are the successors of Ottoman Empire and far older than the present republic formed some 9 decades ago. Against this backdrop, Pakistan’s institutions are relatively new and feeble and started shaping after the country's independence in 1947.
 
It is true that there are ethnic and religious diversities in Turkey and the country’s Kurdish population had suffered under previous military rulers as well as Kemalist-era politicians. Turkey's present ruling dispensation has already restored to their Kurdish citizens many rights, which had been snatched by the previous junta regimes. It does not, therefore, appear justified for them to play the old ethnic nationalism card in the present democratic republic of Turkey.

Turkey has been facing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) onslaught for the last 3 decades with relative bonhomie between the state and its Kurdish citizens and the popularity of PKK has significantly declined from high of 80s and 90s. With the implementation of mature state policies and reforms, the PKK and its affiliates are now either fighting the battle for their own existence or purely serving the agenda of their foreign imperial masters.
 
There is no significant Shia-Sunni sectarian divide in Turkey. There is miniscule Shia population in Turkey, and the Alevis (an offshoot of Shia sect) are more secular and Kemalist than mainstream Shias. Hence, there is very little or no Iranian influence in Turkey, which is quite distinct from Pakistan where Iranian clerics preaching Khomeini's ideology possess significant influence on Pakistan’s Shia minority. Trained and equipped by Iran, thousands of Pakistanis are fighting in Syria with fellow Shia militias from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

Except for the oppressive early republic era, the core of Ottoman and Turkish state has mostly been liberal, inclusive and accommodative of all faiths and ethnicities.

During the last decade when Pakistan's economy had languished and stopped growing, Turkey's economy was radically transformed by comprehensive reforms and with clear economic agenda that heralded robust economic growth, which is still quite impressive. This growth, along with continued political and social reforms eventually pulled Turkey out of deep social divisions and kept the polarization level in the society under control. Turkey has become an upper middle income country with a significant social security network and excellent universal healthcare system.

The most important difference between the two countries is in their economic dependence. Turkey is economically sound and does not need IMF funds. The country has become a major aid provider globally.

There is also a difference in the political leadership of both the countries. Turkey's present political leadership is much more competent, independent and respected by its people. Due to inept political leadership, Pakistan was ruled by military dictators and weak political leaders who have compromised the country's security with foreign loans and financial aid where they have to accept Western conditions.

Pakistan has faced most of its extrem activities after the US invasion of Afghanistan and found itself unable to control and manage the havoc of extremism. With the failed states in its neighborhood and swathes of land under the control of foreign powers and their proxies exporting of extrem, Turkey is still able to counter challenges from both extrem groups and the invaders who are as brutal and bloodthirsty as the old Crusaders and colonialists.

Turkey's capacity to control and dismantle the nefarious nexus of foreign powers and local proxies is much more than that of Pakistan. The recent military operation codenamed Euphrates Shield inside Syria is an example of how Turkey cleared its entire border with Syria from ISIL extremists and also contained the US-EU backed PYD extremist group, the Syrian affiliate of PKK.

Turkey's experience in fighting extremism is more than that of Pakistan. Turkey has been fighting the menace of extremism for more than three decades with brief interregnums whereas Pakistan faced the regular and fierce form of extremism only after the US invasion of Afghanistan. Though there were sporadic cases of extremism reported in the country before that.

There is very little or no tribal culture in Turkey. Pakistan's tribal regions which have been the hotbed of extremism have always been the no-go area for the federal government. Turkey has no such region where the writ of government is not respected.

Apart from improved social cohesiveness among ethnic and religious groups, adequate social spending, outstanding healthcare, a country also needs professional law enforcement agencies and effective intelligence network to thwart its enemies. Turkey’s police forces and intelligence agencies are better trained and well-equipped and much more professional than their Pakistani counterparts. Turkey’s Police forces and special operations forces and improved intelligence network are already prepared to handle the tough situation after analysing more than a decade of extrem havoc in Pakistan.
 
The major difference between Pakistan and Turkey also lies in the management of disorderly events. In Turkey, the state clearly knows who and where the anti-national elements are. The position is quite different in Pakistan where the state spent many years in futility to identify the extremists and their specific targets. Suffice it to say that even with some similarities Turkey and Pakistan are two starkly different countries.

Of course the invented theory of "Pakistanisation of Turkey" suits the conspirators of the failed coup and serves the agenda of those who do not like to see a flourishing democracy in Turkey. It would be more appropriate to talk about the Israelisation of France or South Africanisation (pre-1994) of the US, where black people are killed with impunity under an apartheid system. And since Europe is the source of most problems in the world, we might recall the words of Malaysia's former prime miniser Mahathir Mohamed who said in 2003 that the attacks of September 11, 2001 were "an excuse for the Anglo-Saxon Europeans to return to their old violent ways" as they wanted "to control the world again". Are we witnessing an aberrant Westernisation of the world?

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2016, 13:07
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