Internet in Turkey and Pakistan: A Comparative Analysis, The

The Global Diffusion of the Internet Project was initiated in 1997 to study the diffusion and absorption of the Internet to, and within, many diverse countries. This research has resulted in an ongoing series of reports and articles that have developed an analytic framework for evaluating the Internet within countries and applied it to more than 25 countries. (See for links to some of these reports and articles.)

The current report applies the analytic framework to compare and contrast the Internet experiences of Turkey and Pakistan, through mid-2000. Although historically these countries have not been closely related, there are significant parallels between the two that make them well suited for a comparative study of the absorption of the Internet. Turkey and Pakistan are among the largest non-Arab Muslim countries in the world. In contrast to most of their Arab counterparts, their governments were founded as secular, parliamentary democracies. Both countries have had stormy political histories, however, with periodic coups and authoritarian governments. Each country has firmly entrenched bureaucracies with closed and, to varying degrees, corrupt processes.

Their economies have been similarly troubled, with periods of relative hopefulness punctuated by stagnation and decline. Both countries have suffered from erratic growth rates, high inflation, and high deficits. For most of their histories, their economies were rather closed and autarkic.

In recent decades, each country has taken substantial steps to move toward a more open, market-oriented economy and made expansion of the telecommunications infrastructure a high priority. Each country has sought, less successfully than had been hoped, to attract foreign investment and integrate itself more fully with the global economy.

Each country has a number of national security concerns. Turkey and Pakistan both have histories of serious domestic terrorism and persistent conflict with a non-Muslim neighbor.

In spite of the macro-similarities, there are numerous differences between the two countries. Pakistan is considerably poorer and less developed than Turkey; it has had more coups and assassinations, deeper economic troughs, greater heterogeneity within its population, and more endemic corruption.