Recip Tayyip Erdoğan a Great Democratic Leader


* By Farrukh Sohail Goindi – Pakistan

Both Pakistan and Türkiye are friends and democratic nations. I am often asked about what we can glean from Türkiye’s experience. We can draw numerous lessons from Türkiye, with its journey to democracy being foremost among them. Notably, the country’s triumph over military coup in July 15, 2016, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with substantial popular support, stands as a pivotal example. Renowned in my homeland for maintaining an independent viewpoint, I assert that post-2016, President Erdoğan could be hailed as the preeminent democratic leader within the Muslim world.

His path to democracy rests upon two foundational pillars: the empowerment of the populace and the pursuit of economic prosperity. It was on this basis that, in July 15, 2016, the Turkish populace thwarted a military coup attempt through their collective strength. I personally witnessed President Erdoğan, alongside opposition leaders, addressing a public gathering in Istanbul following the defeat of the coup.

Türkiye distinguishes itself as the democracy not shaped by British, French, or Western colonialism. The Republic of Türkiye arose from the determination of its people under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Pasha Atatürk, who fought the Turkish War of Independence. Notably, the Turkish people repelled foreign colonialism on their soil and simultaneously affirmed the people as the source of power through the establishment of a republic. In contrast, the democratic structures of Pakistan and India post-1947 emerged from colonial legacies, differing significantly from British democracy. They tend toward elitism, while Türkiye’s democratic system is rooted in populism, thereby emphasizing the significance of robust local self-governance.

Türkiye endured three military dictatorships, each eventually supplanted by democracy. The pivotal moment arrived in July 2016 with the defeat of the military coup, spearheaded by President Erdoğan. This achievement stands as a testament to the democratic struggle, attributable to the resilience of the Turkish people, the nation’s democratic institutions, and the leadership of President Erdoğan. His popularity notwithstanding, it was his fervent leadership that primarily ensured the coup’s failure. I contend that this aspect of his leadership serves as a lesson for political figures in Pakistan, leading me to term him “champion of democracy” in my post-2016 analyses, writings, and seminars.

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