By Mohammed Ouhemmou
By Mohammed Ouhemmou
Morocco World News
Casablanca, March 11, 2013
After the revival of political Islam and the success of a number of Islamist parties in election in some of the Middle East and North African countries which witnessed uprisings, a new term started emerging coined: the Turkish model. Some Islamists are suffering what I call Istanbul Syndrome, which is an idolization of some-sort of Turkey’s leading Islamist political party and what it represents. The Muslim Brothers in Egypt, for instance, are still referring to the possibility of applying the so called Turkish model. Hearing some of these statements infuriates me, simply because each country has its own specifities and cannot absorb another country’s model, using a copy paste method.
One feels like he is committing a crime, by trying to compare the experience of the AKP party in turkey with what the Islamists in the Arab Spring countries are trying to do. However, for the reason of illustration I will allow myself to use this comparison. First, on the intellectual level the Islamists of Turkey were inspired by people like Said Nursi who has always encouraged liberal readings of the Quran and believed that modern science and logic was the Segway to a forward looking future. On the other hand, the Islamists in the Arab world and particularly in Egypt, are inspired by writing of people like Hassan Al Banna and Sayed Qotb, who have unfaltering ideas about general aspects of life.
Al Banna, for example, believes that the only place there is for women is home, and if she should get involved in some work it should be only as a nurse of teacher in the kindergarten. The members of AKP party in turkey never claimed that they have God’s support, unlike most of the Islamist movements that took over the lead after the Arab Spring. All the founding members of AKP have defected from a more conservative party, the FP (Felicity Party), simply because they knew that they cannot do politics and religion at once. It took Erdogan three months in prison, to discover that making a political speech is not like making a Friday sermon. Najm al Din Arabakan and his party are the Turkey equivalence of Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, in my view.
At the more practical level and shifting away from theoretical thinking, the economic policy of the government appointed by president Mursi can be described to be a masterpiece of lack of long term vision. The president made a promise to solve a great number of problems, yet when he ascended to power he created more problems and led the country into a state of ideological and political division. When Erdogan visited Egypt, he was welcomed in the airport by herds of Islamists shouting “We want the rule of Islam” instead Erdogan was having a surprise for them. He stated that the Egyptians should adopt a constitution that encourages secularism, since the situation in Egypt doesn’t allow any party to force its world view. The Islamists were not happy about Erdogan’s statements, so they attacked him saying that they will not follow the Turkish model anymore.
What is puzzling to me is that Turkey has not accomplished high rankings in terms of respecting and abiding by international standards of human rights. Google Transparence report states that Google have received 148 request from the Turkish ministry of communication to delete 426 videos on YouTube we well as blogs and Google documents. Complying to the government’s request Google have blocked the access of 63% of Turkish users to these videos. I have to say that the reason for this abusive censorship has nothing to do with protecting the values of society or its religion. In more than 60 % of cases, critique of the government was the cause of censorship. Accusations of blasphemy or violation of copy-rights represented only 7 percent of the cases.
In terms of human rights and freedom of press Turkey is always ranked in the bottom of the list, as it is usually ranked with failed states Like Somalia, Eretria and Iraq. So if anyone is happy about the Turkish model, he has the right to. Personally I am not happy about it, and I think that there already too many boundaries that restrict our freedom in the real world. The last thing we need is the government to tell us which websites we are allowed to log in. I believe that people have the right use the internet freely, if they want to log into sites to read about things the government doesn’t want them to read.
Finally, I would dare to side with the people who say that the Islamist are no ones to blame. People do not vote for the Islamist because the party has a program that can snatch the country out of economic stagnation , they vote because they are told that they are voting for Islam and if they voted for someone else they will be the enemies of God. You need only to look at the electoral slogans that were deployed during the Egyptian elections, “Islam Is the Solution.”
Nursi, Said (2004), “The Letters”, trans. By Sukran Vahide, Sozler Nesriyat, Istanbul
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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