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Kemalism after nine decades


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THIS is with reference to Prof Shameem Akhtar’s letter ‘Clergy-feudal nexus’ (July 26) in which the learned writer speaks of the ‘fate of Kemalism in Turkey’.

Kemalism is as strong as ever. The Kemalist philosophy has served Turkey well for nearly nine decades. Recep Tayyip Erdogan ditched his mentor, Necmettin Erbekan, and pledged loyalty to secularism. That’s why he has succeeded.

He has amended the Turkish constitution without changing its secular character. This has enabled him to win three general elections successively. It was also Erdogan who pushed forward Kemal Ataturk’s pro-Europe orientation by succeeding where other prime ministers had failed — to get the European Union into starting negotiations for Turkey’s into the EU.

Erdogan’s real achievement is that he has put the Turkish army in its place. This self-proclaimed defender of Ataturk’s legacy did tremendous harm to Turkey by usurping power four times. God save the country where the army assumes the role of a saviour. No one knows this more than us Pakistanis.

Islamists in Pakistan should learn from Erdogan’s example and try to come to power through the electoral process instead of intriguing with the army and spy chiefs to assume power through the back door. To complete the contrast, while the Kemalist army hanged Adnan Menderes, our Islamists gathered round dictator Zia and helped him hang Bhutto and feel proud of this deed.

Kemalism is as strong as ever. To repeat, one wishes our Islamists learnt from Erdogan instead of looking to the army to give them power.


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Comments (8) Closed

Agnostic Jul 29, 2012 10:43am
I like your rebuttal (in fact I had a comment to the same letter stating exactly what you have)! However, do you think Pakistan can become TRUEly secular (i.e. DIVORCE religion from the state)? Do you think its people would accept it?
Turk Jul 29, 2012 12:40pm
I'm a core secular Kemalist Turk. I have never voted any Islamist party. Never ever. Don't believe the sincerity of them. Have you ever seen 5 star hotel iftar menus? I'm a Social democrat. Elhamdullillah I'm a Muslim. Do you have enough power to stop Myanmar? What is the latest situation of the Ummah? I will send my charity to Rohingya Muslims for the Eid ul fitr inshallah. Happy Ramadan.
sajid11_khan Jul 29, 2012 04:39pm
Religionists can't come to power in Pakistan because they have failed to articulate a vision of Pakistan that would be acceptable to the people. They have nothing to say about economic growth, economic & social justice, education system and foreign relations. Their only chance to assume power is through intrigue, violence and appealing to the uneducated masses by harping on the orthodoxy.
Turk Jul 29, 2012 11:41am
Mr. Yasin, while you drool over secularism go ask Erdogan's constituent voters why they vote for him. Most Turks vote for Ak party because Mr Erdogan is gradually turning away from so called secularism. Kemalism cult is breaking due to change of the law where critisizing Kemal Pasha is no longer a crime. Some secular or Kemalist vote for him because the work his party did to pull the dis-infrechised out of poverty and gave fairer shot at justice and prosoperity. Pakistanis would welcome British back if they (Brits) remove corruption and put bread in the hungry hands. Islam is egaleterian, therefore Erdogan succeded and Kemalists gave Europe's subervience & poverty to Turkey for 80 yrs. Just because Kemalists are screaming doesn't make them strong it is because they are in pain that a muslim man is winning again and again, which shows Islam is on the rise once again in Turkey.
Sikander Jul 29, 2012 04:57pm
Yassin is living in fantasy land. Secularism to Erdogan is only a tool, his loyalty remains to political Islam. Turks are seeing the changes bit by bit. It's a process which is bearing fruit for Turkey. The situation in Turkey and Pakistan are not compareable. People in Turkey do not vote on kinship or tribal links, but rather issues. Pakistanis vote for whomever their landlord tells them to vote for. Secularism nor Islamism will put a dent to that mindset. PTI is a welcome change since it's campaigning on issues, not ethnic and emotional intrigue. Even DPC is taking advantage of their right to engage in the political arena and becoming a valid lobby in a democracy. The question remains whether or not the self-styled liberals like this democratization process and their place in it.
Razzaq Jul 29, 2012 01:05pm
Yes it can only if they apply the vision of the Jinnah that "People were free to go to their mosques and temples and practice their faith because state would never mix religion with politics." Both the religion and the country have been highjacked by the forces,one of which was non existant in 1947 and the other was against not only Jinnah but also creating Pakistan,
Syed Ahmed Jul 29, 2012 01:54pm
I don’t understand why civilians are nastily against their Army. Factually, each Army is composed of the selected civilians of respective country, not aliens, who are smarten up in to a disciplined body and an effective fighting machine. They also form part of countries vote bank. What is illegitimate about their having role in politics.
mohammad Jul 29, 2012 05:40am
only sincerity is needed. ALLAH GIVES REGARD AS PER INTENTIONS.