Why is Turkey the Perfect Model for Muslim Countries to Follow?

Turkey is country perfectly placed to balance Eastern and Western interests. No other Muslim nation has such clout to influence United States and the West to bring favor for the Islamic nations. It can also balance the conflicting interests of the Saudi and Iran lobby.

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Why is Turkey the Perfect Model for Muslim Countries to Follow

Turkey had been the dominant power in Middle East for most part of the medieval age. The Ottoman Empire, which emerged as the modern day Turkey, was in control of most of the Gulf region in the south, up to the border of Iran in the east and the entire North Africa in the west. After the fall of the Ottomans in the early part of the 20th century and the emergence of a sea of nations in Middle East, the relative power of Turkey has depleted somewhat. However, even today, Turkey is only Muslim NATO country and the only truly secular Muslim nation in the world.

It is the secularism that extends Turkey its greatest strength and under the dynamic leadership of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the nation is poised to take the leadership role of the Muslim world again.

It is true that Saudi Arabia is the up keeper of the two holiest sites of Islam on the basis of which, the nation claims the moral leadership of the Muslim world. However, Saudi Arabia is subject to intense criticism, especially from the West, for its medieval age and brutal laws and human rights abuses. The most prominent of those human rights abuses is their laws regarding women. KSA fares very poorly when it comes to giving equal rights to women in comparison to men.  As the world is changing and the globalization sets in, these kinds of gender discrimination and patriarchal society is bound to disintegrate, at least to an extent. Saudis are conscious of it and in the recent years they are forced to give concessions such as allowing women to work, allowing them to drive cars et al. This is where, Turkey can show its leadership as it has modern society much like the West providing largely equal rights to women. Turkey also allows economic freedom to women and religious minorities.

Egypt is another key Arab nation and has always been the barometer of Islamic world. However, the Arab spring was not a wholehearted success for Egypt. Moreover, the Emirs of the Gulf region is not heeding to such example. On the other hand, Turkey’s influence on the Western world bring with it some special powers that none of other Muslim countries, including Egypt, possess. For example, Turkey demanded the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) to attend a spring summit of NATO. Turkey also plays an important role in the Syrian crisis that has sidelined Iran as has been the case for its demand of Palestine statehood.

Therefore, Turkey is country perfectly placed to balance Eastern and Western interests. No other Muslim nation has such clout to influence United States and the West to bring favor for the Islamic nations. It can also balance the conflicting interests of the Saudi and Iran lobby as it is one of the few Muslim countries that have good relations with both geopolitical groups. There is every reason that Erdogan can lead Turkey to Islamic superpower again.