view: Egypt or Turkey?
|Friday, January 25,2008 11:59|
|By Farrukh Saleem|
Turkey is doing things it hasn’t done in fifty years. In 2001,the Turkish Parliament amended 34 articles of the Constitution granting and protecting civil and political rights; cementing ‘institutions guaranteeing democracy’. Egypt, however, continues to be a repressive state. What’s Pakistan’s future? Egypt or Turkey
Egypt is a 60-year story of coup d’états and assassinations. Fifty-four years ago, General Naquib took over as president but was later put under house arrest by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser. Colonel Nasser assumed presidency and remained the president until his death in 1970.
In 1981, Hosni Mubarak, a commander of the Egyptian Air Force, became president. Hosni Mubarak has won four consecutive, single-candidate, severely flawed presidential elections and is currently into his fifth presidential term.
The Egyptian armed forces — that include the Egyptian Army, the Egyptian Navy, the Egyptian Air Force and the Egyptian Air Defence Command — are the 11th largest in the world and the largest in the African continent. Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt is being governed under Emergency Law No 162 of 1958; in essence, an emergency has been in force almost continuously, since 1967. As per Egyptian law, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif runs the show — on the streets everyone knows that the PM does little, if anything at all.
To be certain, Egypt is the second-largest recipient of American aid, and every American president, both Democratic and Republican, has supported Egyptian authoritarianism for the past 29 years.
Turkey is an 84-year old Republic. For the first 23 years, Turkey went through single party rule. Beginning in 1960, Turkey became a 40-year story of coup d’états; the Turkish Army overthrowing elected governments in 1960, 1971, 1980, and most recently in 1997.
In 1960, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes was put on trial and hanged. General Cemal Gursel became the head of state, the prime minister and the minister of defence. In 1971, General Memduh Tagmac, Chief of General Staff, imposed ‘Guided Democracy’ after dissolving Prime Minister Demirel’s government. In 1980, Chief of General Staff General Kenan Evren took over the Turkish presidency, dissolved the parliament, banned all political parties, suspended the Constitution and then “rewrote the Constitution guaranteeing the Turkish Army’s political power”.
In 1997, a military coup d’état overthrew the government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister. This time around, the Turkish army did not dissolve the parliament and did not suspend the Constitution but brought out their US-designed M-48 main battle tanks on to the streets of Sincan (a district in Ankara Province, Central Turkey).
Although Egypt continues to be an American-supported dictatorship, Turkey is changing direction.
Not too long ago, criticising the Turkish armed forces was a criminal offence. No more. Turkey is now trying awfully hard to meet the Copenhagen Political Criteria, a prerequisite to joining the European Union. Paragraph 7(A), European Council in Copenhagen 1993, Conclusions of the Presidency states: “Membership requires that candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and, protection of minorities...”
Turkey continues to maintain 514,000 men under arms and an additional 380,000 reserves. Turkey continues to also maintain the 2nd largest standing military within NATO, the 8th largest in the world.
But, Turkey is changing. The EU is changing Turkey. Turkey is doing things because of the EU, things that Turkey hasn’t done in fifty years. In 2001, the Turkish Parliament amended 34 articles of the Constitution granting and protecting civil and political rights; cementing ‘institutions guaranteeing democracy’.
Egypt, however, continues to be a repressive state.
What’s Pakistan’s future? Egypt or Turkey?
Dr Farrukh Saleem is an Islamabad-based economist and analyst