Power has strange dynamics. A complex phenomena in its origin and prevalence, the kinetics of power have since antediluvian times, boggled the minds of intellectuals and thinkers alike. While some have defined it as an inherent tendency individuals possess, others have proposed it to being an acquired potential. However, engaging in an exegesis of power origination and prevalence in the context of democratic regimes something that aptly defines the modern day sociopolitical ambience is French writer Foucault’s take on power, the fact that power flows in a sort of a capillary fashion from bottom to top and that power is everywhere, not because it is spread everywhere but because it comes from everywhere.

Going by Foucault’s notions on power and the recent happenings in Turkey, where the Turkish commoners, the Awaam foiled the attempts of the Turkish military to impose a coup supposedly as a means of inducing peace, and impelled the harrowing plot to fail, not only serves to manifest the conscientiously awakened minds and souls of the commoners, but also serve to convey the notion that the real beholders of power are the commoners themselves. The power of a leader, a representative of the society is hence, the power that is granted to him by the individuals who serve as the atomic constituents of the society. As long as the common man is desirous and willing to support the leadership, it will relish power. However, the moment he decides to strip the leadership of its support, only deflated egos would prevail.

One wonders, what was it that galvanised the Turks to leave the secure peripheries of their homes and expose themselves to stray bullets? What was it that prompted them to confront and stand tall against the men in boots, men equipped with the latest of weaponry? What was it that propelled them to lay down their lives in support of President Erdogan and his government, especially when they were generally dissatisfied with his policies? The answer is simple, loud and clear. For the Turk commoners, it was a realisation of the fact that punctuating democratic regimes with military coups and takeovers is in no manner conducive to stability, peace and development. They took to the streets, made themselves susceptible to violence and harm, not for President Erdogan, but for the civilian institutions of the state, for democracy itself.

Burdened with a legacy of military takeovers that allegedly aimed at ushering concord and amity in Turkey, however on the contrary plunging it to deeper recesses of darkness and gloom, be it through the coup d’état of 1960, the Guided Democracy of 1971 or the coup d’état of 1980, the Turks aptly deciphered the certitude of such military takeovers, for whatever contextual reasons provided; that democracy breeds democracy. Expecting dictatorial regimes to serve as breeding grounds for democratic endeavours is akin to dwelling in a fool’s paradise. How can democratic institutions be strengthened by the men in the Military, when the very coup through which they assume the posture of leadership is undemocratic? How can the capacity building of democratic institutions be rendered when they are not provided with a chance to thrive, to struggle, to sustain and to survive? Of course, under such a terse environment as is predicated by Military takeovers, burgeoning of democratic institutions is simply not possible.

The sagaciousness of the Turk commoners and democratic parties is something that Pakistan needs to draw a lesson from, especially when similar trends of military coups have blotted the history of both the states. First and fore mostly, the Pakistanis like the Turks needs to realise that military coups in no situation favours democratic trends and norms. Being repugnant to democracy, coups simply brittles down democracy to a much weaker form, revamping of which is of course a tedious task. The opposition in the Pakistani parliament, primarily PTI Leadership, needs to discern that endeavouring to strengthen democracy requires patience and perseverance. It is not an over nightly accomplished dream. By encouraging the ‘Third Umpire’ to raise his finger or by callously commenting that had the Turkish coup attempt been rendered in Pakistan, people would have celebrated it, distributed sweets, rather than working towards its foliage, or by accusing parties over the ‘secretly installed’ banners in support of General Raheel Sharif and Martial Law , we simply reflect upon how far we need to travel on the road towards understanding the dynamics of true democracy.

Another pertinent lesson for Pakistanis is that of synthesis and concordance, not only in terms of intention but in terms of action as well. The Turk commoners were united in their resolve to safeguard democracy in Turkey. As sensibility demands, they kept their political and social differences aside struggling for a common endeavour, the joint agenda and need to secure democracy in Turkey. Had they been cleaved or segregated, they would have indirectly resulted in making the coup a successful bid. For Pakistanis to stand united is the need of hour. Respect for political differences is an art that they need to master. Backing from supporting a humble endeavour simply because the opponent party engages in it, is surely not the way nations evolve and burgeon.

Lastly, the Turkish resolve to support democracy even when President Erdogan, who has infamously assumed the posture of an autocratic leader, not only speaks volumes about the tenacity of the Turkish people but also stresses on the need to ensure sustainability of institutions for evolution. The military coup was a perfect opportunity for the Turk commoners to have gotten away from the repressive radical conservative policies of Erdogan and his censorship laws, highly disfavoured by the general populace. A case in point being the sentence of Turkish model Merve Buyucksarac, on charges of ‘insulting’ President Erdogan by composing and sharing a satirical poem critical of Erdogan and his policies. However, the Turks thought not about Erdogan but about the institution he represented, and took to streets, foiled the attempts for a military coup, gave up their lives, all for the welfare of democracy, all for the sake of a brighter tomorrow in Turkey.

I have time and again maintained that stability and fortification of institutions can only be ushered in when sustainability assumes the posture of normalcy in a state. For Pakistanis to relish the true colours of democracy, democracy itself needs to be given a chance, just as the Turks have given. For once we need to learn from our history and from our friends, the Turks, who by clinging onto the values of democracy and civilian supremacy, through their sagaciousness have written history. The legends of their bravery will continue to inspire future commoners, enabling them to stand up for their ideals, their dreams and the fact that gullibility is not what defines them today, for they are the ones granting power to the leadership. For once let’s stop alluding to Martial Law as a suitable alternative to all our collective trajectories. For once let’s allow the seed of democracy to blossom into a fragrantly beautiful flower, a flower that exudes dictums of peace and harmony, only then can we truly accord it the cachet it deserves.