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Kemalism after nine decades

July 29, 2012


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.