One year ago, this day, the people of Turkey set an example by defending their elected government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against military rebels. People fought against the rebelling army officers, blocked the tanks on the roads and arrested them to their shock and world’s amazement. People from all over the country rushed to airports and the key state institutions kicking the rebels out and saving their president, who has gained more as a result of the failed coup. The world had never previously seen such an action by the people for the people and their state.
The Republic of Turkey is certainly a country with remarkable historical background that ruled the Middle East and the Balkans for seven hundred years under the Ottoman Empire or ‘Khalifa.’ According to a Hungarian commentator, Ottoman was comparatively better for them than its western counterparts at least in one specific way: ‘If the region of Balkans was ruled by any other empire of the time, they would have lost their culture and heritage like many other colonies.’ He added that Ottoman ruled the territories by appointing the locals at key posts and did not interfere with their cultures. The west conspired with the Arabs to destroy the caliphate with a promise to empower the Arabs, telling them that they were a superior race. However, the Arabs ended up losing almost everything, including Palestine to the Zionists and the remaining Arab territory had been divided into 22 banana states, which still suffer from instability, internal conflicts and external interference.
Till 2013, Turkey managed to keep its ‘zero percent conflict policy’ with its neighbors despite American occupation of Iraq, but the Syrian war ended the ‘zero conflict policy with neighbors.’ The Erdogan Government has realized this mistake and tried to review its Foreign Policy. In certain quarters, a propaganda started that president Erdogan wanted to restore the Ottoman Empire and become the 37th Sultan. This seemed to be the main reason why America and the West remained silent over the failed rebellion in Turkey. President Erdogan and his supporters took serious notice of it and they tried to balance relations with Russia and the West. President R. T. Erdogan and president Putin of Russia signed several trade agreements recently. Russia removed visa restrictions for Turkish traders and took no action against the killing of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara.
President Erdogan visited America, where he told President Trump that his policy to arm the Syrian Kurds and expect Turkey to remain friendly at the same time was no longer possible. President Erdogan also toured the EU countries and expressed his disenchantment over the western attitudes towards July 15 failed coup and its plotters. This made it clear that President Erdogan was only Muslim leader with an independent Foreign Policy trying to establish relations with big powers on equal footing. He did not attend the Riyadh meeting of the Muslim countries chaired by president Trump, who trumped a further wedge between the OIC members. Turkey also took a principled stand over the Qatar issue.
So far so good, but the conflicts in the Muslim world are so many and so complicated that realistically speaking, they are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. However, Turkey is the only Muslim country with a comparatively balanced policy with a specific view on the issues of Jammu Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Syria. Therefore, the right-minded Muslims should rally around Turkey. We should both support Turkey and learn from the unprecedented role played by the Turkish people to foil the plotters. The Turkish Government should also try to find a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem in order to prevent continued external interference. In any event, we praise the Turkish people and pray for their peace and prosperity in the future.
Quayyum Raja Azad Kashmir