The Failed Coup and the Challenge of ErdoganThe failed coup in Turkey should not make people think that the danger is over. Those who wanted to replace President Erdogan and his party are still there in Turkey and they would do everything possible to destabilize the country. However the ball is in the court of the President and if he responds to the crisis in a magnanimous manner, he could turn the tables against his foes and create a democratic model that would be the envy of every country.
Rather than locking up all his foes, he needs to win them over to his vision of Turkey. He needs to initiate a dialogue with those who see his understanding of Islam irrelevant to Turkey and the modern world. Doubtlessly, Erdogan and his party is committed to Islam and aspires to present the country as a leading example of Islam to the world. There are certain areas where the vision that Erdogan has of Islam needs to be focused. He would have to prove that Turkey under his leadership is an open society that respects human rights and promotes peace and progress. He would have to set the example through concrete actions that science and technology are the foundations of the emerging Turkey where corruption has no place. He would have to prove to the world that his country can give a balanced education system to the people that integrates science with religious ethos and universal ethics.
In particular the following major areas would deserve his utmost attention.
1. Emphasis on Islamic values should not lead him to deny non Muslims their right to preach and practice their religion or no religion freely.
2. Women should not be forced to a lifestyle they do not want to identify with and their rights to seek equality in all spheres of life should be respected.
3. Moral values should not be imposed on those who do not believe in them.
4. Rather than reacting on the basis of political expediency, a principled position should be taken on matters of concerns to Turkey and the Muslim world. In other words, Turkey should emerge as a voice of decency and support for all those who are denied justice and equality regardless of their background.
5. Negotiations should open with Kurds and Armenians and other dissident groups to find a solution of the bitterness that has lingered long and caused tensions in relationship.
6. An education system that integrates ethics with science and technology should be the foundation to lay the future social fabric of the country.
7. Peaceful opposition should be encouraged and those in power should always be ready to consult even their foes on matters of public interests.
8. Witch-hunt of those involved in the failed coup should be replaced with dialogue and reconciliation. Rather than turning Gulanists into enemies, efforts should be directed to secure their support for a unified Turkey with prosperity for all.
9. Better and stronger relations with neighbors should be the mainstay of Turkish policies as it would prevent possible incursion and infiltration.
10. Living conditions of people regardless of their social and religious background should be improved so that their basic needs are guaranteed.