The United States - you must extradite that person.” Facing the sudden coup attempt to his rule, Turkish President Erdogan urged the United States to extradite his former cleric ally, Fethullah Gulen allegedly masterminding the attempt to seize his power, “I am calling on America here, I am calling on Mr. President (Obama).” Erdogan told the public he had informed the US repeatedly that the person threatened Turkey’s security and should be extradited. “Mr President, I told you myself, either deport or hand over to us this person who lives in 400 acres of land in Pennsylvania,” and “engaged in coup plots but I was not listened to.” The Turkish also turned out to be successful in urging his supporters to stay on the streets to prevent any possible flare-up of the coup.
Nothing succeeds like success. This has been rhetoric of a political leadership truly independent in mind and spirit. Admittedly, it may be coming out successfully of a coup, major or minor by any reason of half hearted unprofessional attempt by only a segment of military group without having patronage of the top brass and, perhaps, loosely planned by the international players. But the fact remains that it has certain spill over effects all around, both negative and positive with special reference to Pakistan.
The world has witnessed thirty military successful coup d’etat from 1960 to 1980 but thereafter subsiding with the passage of time to the minimum with only two big examples of Egypt and partial martial law in Burma. It reflects a trend amongst various global electoral transitions from liking for the military regimes to the democratic systems, no matters weak or strong. However, Pakistan seems to be an exception in this regards which has experienced a coup even in 1999 where the world has travelled far for transition from the military to democratic environments.
True that even today Pakistan has been under strong apprehensions of spill overs of various international revolutions and movements. However, in most of the cases Pakistan has had its indigenous and peculiar reasons and defenses. In the early 80s, the then military regime under Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, somehow, apart from local effects of sectarianism of its counter intelligence policies, was successfully able to counter potential spill over coming from across the western borders under waves of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It was visibly reflected by the siege of the Federal Secretariat at Islamabad by the Shi’ite community under the headship of religious clerics, Mufti Jafar Hussain and Allama Arif Hussaini who happened to be internees of Ayatollah Khomeini. Similarly, though claimed to be as indigenous, the Kashmir movement got its unprecedented momentum in the late 80s, somehow assimilating spill overs of international freedom movements in Palestine, Chechnya and other Muslim states of the former Soviet Union in the wake of its break up. Current waves of movements by Islamist international militant groups never renders Pakistan absolutely immune to any such global or regional influences and carry all capabilities to mould the socio-military environment in Pakistan despite its having peculiar indigenous culture.
Surprisingly, in the breaking reports of a recent initially successful coup in Turkey, on indoor social media, at length unrealistic to the ground realities, a thrilling wave could abundantly be seen on the faces of a sizable segment of society which would be the happiest creature on earth to have such a coup in Pakistan as well. However, the same could also be seen converting to dying hopes on the faces of that pro-coup segment and contrarily with happiness or at least contentment on the faces of anti-coup if not pro-democratic segment of Pakistan.
The Turkish people were heard saying that they are afraid of a military government and know what a military government would mean as most of them have had once been part of it. Thousands of the rebels were arrested not only by public at large but even by ever ill-reputed cops. 2,745 judges are also likely to be sacked for their acts of commission or omission in the wake of the coup bid. The real cause, perhaps, holds Turkish President responsible for undermining modern Turkey’s secular roots established by Kamal Attaturk after World War I and of authoritarianism and not for any socio-economic disorders.
Of course, the coup is seen by the people within and without Turkey to be a Western bid to strike down the direction of growth being achieved by Turkish nation, perhaps, not as a NATO member state but a leading Muslim state carrying potential to revive Islamic organizations like OIC etc., specially, with Erdogan holding a precarious position. A visible dissatisfaction was also seen on the face of western media with Erdogan arriving and addressing the nation in Istanbul. However, while giving the devil his due, sensible western critics including former diplomats were never hesitant to label it a threat to Turkish democracy and US President and the NATO Secretary General, maybe only symbolically, promptly reacted in support of Turkish democracy.
The fact remains that even in the wake of changing global trends from liking or requiring military regimes to even the weakest democracies, Erdogan enjoying confidence of AKP, the opposition and Turkish people in such hard times, has been instrumental to revival of a vacuum for any such military interventions by dint of his policy of centralisation of power inviting the antagonists to seek political catharsis through such rebellious coup elements.
Admittedly, Turkey remains with China and Pakistan as a reliable friend so far. A popular liking for Pakistan and vice versa is found amongst their diaspora. All Turkish past and present leadership always appears to be willing to extend any substantial, technical, technological, economic and political support for Pakistan. Pakistan’s premier, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, his Special Assistant for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tariq Fatimi and the Defense Minister, Mr. Khawaja Asif have extended prompt support to the Turkish democracy which has widely been appreciated in Turkey. However, the same may not necessarily be out of love for each other but perhaps out of gratitude for suppressing such a coup, which could have an adverse spill over in Pakistan in the given non-conducive political circumstances, especially following Panama leaks and the politics based on agitational sit-in strategies by the political as well as clerical opposition.
People of Pakistan who once could throng the streets on a single call from their political or uniformed leaders for any national cause in the past are either disillusioned or have lost requisite strength due to meager socio-economic circumstances. The people of Pakistan, however, seem to have given final opportunity to the political leadership for a democratic system for the last continuous eight years, tolerating even all ails and odds of corruption and maladministration in favour of democracy and against any military intervention. Credit, however, also goes to the latest and current military and judicial leadership, which has preferred to focus only on their professional commitments and hence giving a fair chance to the politicians to perform their duties in the largest interest of national socio-economic growth and for strengthening the democracy in the country.
Like Erdogan and Turkish people, political leadership in Pakistan can only fetch the people of Pakistan to their rescue in any such hard times only on the basis of true strength of democracy, which stays on nothing else but deliverance of economic growth to the people in case of ruling party and non-traditional politics in case of any opposition. Otherwise, not alien spill over, but only indigenous distrust would be sufficient.