Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam :
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again created history after winning Turkey’s presidency that cements his two-decade long tenure as head of the state.
I have closely watched Mr. Erdogan’s phenomenal rise from being a mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s to becoming prime minister in 2003. And now he becomes president for the third time.
I express my heartiest congratulations on his success. No doubt, this is the result of his persistent hard work and patience. His people love him. That is why they have been consistent in voting him to power.
I have always held Mr. Erdogan in high regard for his courage and resilience. Mr. Erdogan’s party was banned in the 1990s and he was sent to prison for four months. However, he became a phoenix from the ashes, launching a new party called the AKP (Justice and Development Party) and making it a huge success.
Mr. Erdogan is indeed the most deserving and suitable for the role of the president of Turkey. He deserves to be applauded for having established civilian supremacy in Turkey that was used to witness military interventions.
After winning the historic election, Mr. Erdogan said, “Now is the time to put aside all the debates and conflicts regarding the election and unite around our national goals and dreams.” He further said, “No one has lost today. All 85 million people have won.”
His words are quite reassuring. His victory speech shows that he intends to foster a climate of political reconciliation, and make efforts to fix the economy that is afflicted with inflation.
Mr. Erdogan’s latest tenure of presidency is not going to be easy, I must say, as the country has many looming challenges. Mr. Erdogan will have to work very hard to unite his deeply divided country and fix the financial crisis. However, I am sure his vision to grapple with the challenges and attain the goals he has anticipated for his country will prove to be a huge success.
I must say I was impressed by Mr. Erdogan’s address to his followers and the youth. I would like to share some of it with you.
The first thing he said was “Do not associate partners with Allah”. Then he said, “Don’t commit a sin. Don’t tell a lie. Offer Salah (Namaz) properly. Don’t procrastinate repentance.”
Then Mr. Erdogan went on to say, “Promote greetings of salam and dua.” “Walk in humility. Don’t talk loudly.”
Later, he took a pause and said, “Maybe I am talking loudly. May Allah forgive me!” He advised his followers to “participate in intellectual debates and discussions,” and to “stay away from ignorant and bad neighbours.”
He said, “Wake up early in the morning. Talk less and don’t spread misinformation. Make a decision after a consultation. Choose the right friends. Don’t be lazy. And don’t be in a hurry. Be kind. Be patient in tough times as this is the way to success.”
Some of his words reminded me of Hazrat Luqman’s counsels to his son that find mention in the Holy Qur’an. In fact, a complete Surah is named after Hazrat Luqman, who is considered a wise man.
It is also interesting to note that Mr. Erdogan’s win was celebrated across the Muslim world, including Palestine. People took to the streets and organised car rallies in several countries in order to celebrate his victory. This shows that Mr. Erdogan has a global appeal. And this is because he always stands up for the oppressed, especially the Palestinians. I guess his popularity will increase if he keeps on doing good job in his capacity as the president of a great nation like Turkey and as a global ambassador of peace.
When I communicate with great leaders like Mr. Erdogan, I urge them to spare a thought for the weak and the marginalised, especially minorities and refugees.
We must remember that all humans are the children of Adam. Thus, they cannot be differentiated on the grounds of race, religion, caste, ethnicity and territory. They all are entitled to a life of dignity. And people’s dignity cannot be ensured unless there is justice in the society.
Islam insists on a just order, an order that is cognizant of everybody’s rights, including the right to equality. Allah says: “We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours, above a great part of Our Creation.” (The Qur’an, 17:70)
Islam is based on the principles of equality and justice. In his farewell sermon, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white, except by piety and good action.”
Therefore, today’s policy makers must show a commitment to democratic principles, cultural and linguistic diversity, national reconciliation, international peace, religious tolerance, economic growth, and solidarity with the weak and the marginalised.
Last but not the least, there’s an urgent need to educate our masses on a large scale. We’ll have to educate them not only to enable them to earn and sustain their livelihood but to know their Creator and their glorious culture and civilisation.
We are saddened to see that knowledge production in the Muslim world has slowed down considerably. Therefore, it is our responsibility to revive the process of knowledge production by adopting various means.
To this end, we’ll have to unite intellectuals and assign them the task of reviving the knowledge production in the Muslim world. Besides writing new books on natural sciences and social sciences, our intellectuals will have to translate important books in European languages into our mother tongues such as Turkish, Arabic, Urdu and Persian.
Once again, I congratulate Mr. Erdogan and sincerely hope that his rule brings stability to the country and his plan of action matches the expectations of the Turkish people.
May he always find Allah the Almighty on his side in discharging his duties as the President! May Allah bless him with the best of health, strength and happiness!