New Delhi: The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his visit to India offered his mediation in resolving Indo-Pak rivalry. His involvement in the issue may be a reason behind his intention of establishing his secular image.
It is well established that rivalry over Kashmir hurts India as well as Pakistan. Addressing a joint press event with Erdogan, Modi said, “We live in times where our societies face new threats and challenges every day. The context and contours of some of the existing and emerging security challenges globally are our common concern,” reported the Indian Express.
Erdogan, in 2016, made a visit to Pakistan and stated that “our brothers and sisters in Kashmir are suffering because of the escalating tension along the Line of Control. The Kashmir issue needs to find a solution.” Which was applauded by Nawaz Sharif.
The Turkish president might have thought of his qualities of leadership that made him say “When people look for mediators, why don’t they talk to me? I have great mediation skills. Look at how I have effectively dealt with the Kurdish problem.”
It’s quite evident that in his leadership the entire democratically-elected Kurdish leadership was jailed, while 2,500 people have been killed and 500,000 were displaced since July 2015. When Kurdish militants were carrying out attacks, the city was ruined due to military strikes.
This behaviour of the president needs certain clarifications over the long-running battle over Islam in Turkey. Since 1950, the signs of a recoil against the republicanism of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were obvious. The construction of mosques became extensive with the victory of Adnan Menderes’ Demokrat Partisi, along with state-run Quran classes and theological colleges. In 1960, the Generals struck back, instituting a grim, Kemalist order—and resistance was led by the patriarch of Turkey’s Islamist movement, Necmettin Erbakan.
After 1980, the military started using Islam as an instrument. In 1996, Erbakan became Prime Minister and initiated battles over the long-standing ban on headscarves, and other issues dear to the religious pious constituency. In 1988, Erbakan’s party became illegal as it mixed politics with religion.
In 2002, Erdogan was elected as a “post-Islamist” politician only to go steadily rightwards, while breaking the power of military and secularist civic institutions. India should not be concerned of his showing concern, as this is all done to beat the drums of ‘secularism’ in Turkey.