Turkey ‘inspiration for Spring rather than model’
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsThe former director general of Al-Jazeera Television and president of the Sharq Forum, Waddah Khanfar, said Turkey is seen not seen as a model, but it is seen as a source of inspiration in the Arab Spring countries.
“From the Arab world, we see Turkey as an economically prosperous, politically stable country where the relation[ship] between state and the society is not tense. This model has become a sort of inspiration for people on the ground. But Egyptians and Tunisians would like to develop their own model,” Khanfar said at a conference titled “Media and Awakening” at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul on May 16. “Before the Arab revolution, the Islamists were either oppressed or jailed in the dictatorial regimes. Now we are witnessing a major shift from people who were in opposition, who were jailed before, into occupying the seats of the power. That is a major military and psychological change. Always secular elite see the religion as a threat to democracy. When the revolution[s] take place, people voted for Islamists to protest this kind of approach of our elite in Tunisia. The nation decided to leave [the] past behind it,” Khanfar said.