x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Erdogan's AKP is transforming Turkey

In addition to commenting on the Turkish election results, Arabic opinion writers express themselves, in today's excerpts, on Muammar Qaddafi's fate, the role and practice of Islamic banking, and the new idea that Iraq should pay America back in cash for the cost to Uncle Sam of the war and its aftermath.

AKP's victory crowns Turkey's achievements

Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a landslide victory in legislative elections this week, giving its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan the ability to establish a government alone without seeking a coalition, noted the London-based newspaper Al Quds al Arabi in its editorial.

Although the AKP did not win the two-thirds majority that could entitle it to amend the Turkish constitution, its victory in 59 per cent of parliamentary seats, with 51 per cent of votes case, marked a rise in the party's popularity compared to 2007 and 2002, when it won 47 per cent and 34 per cent of total seats, respectively.

The AKP's success was the result of the great efforts of its leaders and supporters, that have transformed Turkey from an indebted state mired in corruption to an economic and political power.

Political and economic achievement aside, "we think that the great success made by Erdogan's government is to dispel the belief common in the West about the impossibility of a coexistence between Islam and democracy. Throughout the last decade, Erdogan worked to consolidate values of justice, democracy and human rights and the separation of powers."

Many criticise Erdogan's government for doing little to solve the Kurdish issue, except for recognising the Kurdish language and culture. Others, however, considered that to be a big achievement, because it came in a short time.


Qaddafi will never be a hero or martyr

"We do not know what Col Muammar Qaddafi thinks about these days, observed Mazen Hammad in an opinion piece for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan.

"One things for sure is that the man is in real trouble. He is between a rock and a hard place, as both Nato warplanes and rebels are chasing him. Nor do we know whether he is serious about suicide when he feels he is utterly defeated. But we know that the mere fact of hinting at taking his life is evidence that he senses his end is soon."

It is not strange that Col Qaddafi remains silent each time a comfortable exit offer is proposed to him. He continues to ignore them, although they are the only means to ensure a peaceful solution. The latest of these offers came from the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said that Qaddafi has no other options but to leave Libya in return for some guarantees.

Although the nature of the guarantees is not clear, they are likely to include the personal safety of Col Qaddafi and his family. He knows that there will be no hope for ruling a unified Libya once again, as the rebels rejects any dialogue with the regime. Yet he insists on staying in Libya. He apparently trusts nobody.

"Insisting on dying in Libya or committing suicide is not going to make of him a hero or a martyr. Rather, either would spark overwhelming demonstrations of joy throughout the country."


A new version of the US occupation of Iraq

The demands expressed by some members of the US Congress - that Iraq to pay compensation of $1.8 trillion to the US for the losses incurred in Iraq - mark a new chapter of the occupation, noted the Emirati newspaper Al Bayan in its editorial.

While public opinion is looking forward to final withdrawal by the end of next August as agreed, such demands are meant to blackmail the Iraqi government.

It is ironic to hear that it is required of Iraqis to make up for what the Americans have lost because of the invasion and destruction of the country.

"We do not know if this issue reflects a general trend within the Congress, or expresses the opinion of a small number of members. We do not know also whether this move is a way to circumvent any future Iraqi claims. Those who forwarded these demands argued that the US economic situation is difficult and that Washington can no longer afford the cost of deploying its troops across the world. If this argument is true, it should rather be a reason to accelerate the process of withdrawal from Iraq or from any other country.

The proposal is apparently a counterplan to a popular campaign Iraq is intending to undertake to demand the US and its allies pay compensations to civilian victims and to the government as a result of damage to infrastructure during the occupation.


Islamic banks reflect commercial culture

If the goals of Islamic banks are supposed to be different from those of their commercial counterparts, their operating mechanisms should be different too, remarked economist Najeeb al Shamsi in a commentary in the business section of the UAE newspaper Emarat al Youm.

"The Islamic banks were established to achieve a package of objectives that serve a segment of society that desires not to deal with commercial banks. However they do not differ in their methods of managing funds, Islamic investment or providing financial facilities to others."

Islamic banks turned out to be no exception because they employ many specialists who previously worked for commercial banks. Thus, our Islamic banks have been administered with the same mentality and with the same operating methods, aimed at achieving maximum profits.

This goal pushed the banks to diversify their banking products for both individuals or corporations in competition with their counterparts, jeopardising the foundations on which they were created in the first place.

While lawmakers have specified a set of goals based on Sharia, managers in Islamic banks, especially those coming from the commercial world, have abused the rules.


* Digest compiled by Mostapha El Mouloudi