Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tunisia Won't Use Islamist-Led Turkey as a Model, Rebel Leader Says

Holding up Turkey as a model would not be the right approach for Tunisia, which seeks a democracy of its own, a key opposition leader who is seen as a future president of that country, said Monday.

"The Islamic party in Tunisia looks at the ruling Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a model, but Tunisia doesn't want to follow a model, we want to construct our own democracy," Ahmed Nejib Chebbi told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in an interview after speaking at a roundtable discussion organized by Turkish Policy Quarterly magazine.

"Tunisian society is very sympathic towards Turkey, not just historically, but also because of its economic success and because of the new role that Turkey is playing in the international scene," Chebbi said, as his country paves the way to a new constitutional assembly in June.

The whole world follows Turkey's political agenda "because people want to see the reconciliation between political Islam and democracy," said the opposition movement leader, who is in Turkey to attend the Leaders of Change Summit being held in Istanbul on Monday and Tuesday. "Turkey's accession process to the European Union is very important for the other states in the region to see," Chebbi added.

"The process of integrating with the EU greatly helped Turkey in reforming its state institutions, however some European countries say Turkey is not European and they don't want to be neighbors with Syria and Iran," he said. "This is the wrong attitude and I would like to see Turkey as a part of Europe. This would bring Turkey, and the whole region, stability and peace."


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