Stories about turkey

If no major non-Arab nation has supported the Saudi bloc, so why pressure Pakistan, Saudi Arabia?

As is often the case in regional conflicts, outside players may feel compelled to toe the line of one of the parties. Thus, in the latest conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt (also known as the Saudi bloc), Pakistan finds itself walking a diplomatic and economic tightrope. That is, until the last few days, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told King Salman of Saudi Arabia that Pakistan will not be taking sides in the conflict. As this commentary will illustrate, I believe that this is the commendable choice as it is in Pakistan’s interest to remain neutral, if not lean, towards Qatar based ...

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Why a ban on Qatar may not be in the interest of the countries joining forces against them

While the announcement that several Middle Eastern counties including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen were outright banning all relations with Qatar, the fact that they actually did it has had reverberations across the globe. Saudi Arabia declared a complete ban on all air, sea and land routes into and out of Qatar while UAE and Bahrain demanded the expulsion of Qatari diplomats from their countries. At last count, Libya and Maldives had joined the growing chorus against Qatar. Qatar is a tiny emirate jutting out as a peninsula from Saudi Arabia towards Iran. While it is a member of the international oil supplying nation group Organisation ...

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Trump may be doing the right thing siding by Saudi instead of Iran

Political pundits around the world are trying to analyse the impact of President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his speech to the leaders of some 50 Muslim countries in Riyadh. Some are saying that it is full of contradictions as compared to his pre-election rhetoric against Muslims. Others say that his clear tilt towards Sunni’s and his siding with the Saudis on their stand vis à vis Iran is illogical and counter-productive to the USA’s fight against ISIS. On one hand, the fountainhead of the theological underpinnings of ISIS is the Saudi Arabian sponsored Wahabi/Takfiri ideology and its main support comes from ...

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Why Turkey’s referendum is important

Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. Besides physical beauty of its architectural heritage and breath-taking landscapes, Turkey also captures the imagination because it is a crossroad of Asia and Europe, and consequently a lovely mix between tradition and modernisation. But what makes Turkey truly fascinating for me is that since the 1920s, it has been a secular as well as a moderate Muslim majority country. Whenever someone wants to prove that a Muslim country can be secular and moderate, they use Turkey as their example.  Turkey was cited by Reza Aslan as an example to counter ...

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As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil

I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face. My entire family is puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil. It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens ...

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Are the voices of the world enough to end the absurdity behind the #MuslimBan?

The media went on overdrive when Donald Trump, immediately after inauguration, followed through on his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims”. The New York Times reported:  “The president’s order… suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” When The Express Tribune asked if I wanted to write a blog on the Muslim ban, I started taking notes, and by the time I finished a draft, ...

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Turkey and its war over Islam

As Turkey mourns the loss of 39 souls in the fifth terror attack to strike Istanbul in a bloody 18 months, the country’s plight unveils the two arms of Islamism unfolding against Turkey’s century-old canvas of civil, pluralist Islam. One is known as violent Islamism, and the other, less recognised but more covert (and, for that reason, more ominous), is institutional Islamism. While the gunman has already been identified and claimed by ISIS as its soldier, Turkey is learning the institutional Islamism that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pursued for decades is no protection against violent Islamism. Erdogan’s Turkey is increasingly governed by institutional, non-violent Islamism, a ...

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What is so similar about Pakistan and Turkey?

You have a neighbouring Islamic country whose government you don’t seem to like much. You would appreciate if its rulers changed. The United States of America shares the same opinion as you. They want you to help settle a few scores of their own. You collect motivated youth from around the world, all aligned in a certain sectarian direction. You provide them with military know how, modern weapons and defence strategies, in your own backyard. You send them charging to your neighbour, hoping that these motivated proxies will overthrow their government for you. While doing all this, you never calculate the ...

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Is child sexual assault or rape, in this day and age, still excusable?

Right across the Turkish capital, Istanbul, countless people are huddled together clutching boards and posters in a form of protest. Turkey has been struggling with a number of political problems and most of them are associated with the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in neighbouring war-torn Syria. But this time, unlike the others, this problem doesn’t have anything to do with ISIS but is triggered by troubling issues inside the country. A new Turkish bill has been proposed which pardons men from crime and punishment if they marry the victim they raped. Thousands of women were outraged. Human rights groups were ...

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An open letter of gratitude to the Archbishop of Canterbury

Dear most reverend archbishop, Justin Welby, I am not sure how I am supposed to address you; may I call you the reverend father? This seems more appropriate considering the impression you’ve left behind after your visit to Pakistan. Reverend father, you are the head of a worldwide Anglican community which includes Pakistan. You landed in our country last Friday night and, despite the protocol, you did not attend many meetings with the high and the mighty. One official courtesy call to the Foreign Office Minister, Mr Sartaj Aziz was necessary. The purpose behind your visit to Pakistan becomes evident when ...

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