Turkey model for Arab world up for debate

Turkey model for Arab world up for debate

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Award-winning journalist and chairman and founder of the Doha Debates Tim Sebastian will ask whether Turkey can serve as a model for the new Arab states in the Middle East in a forum to be held in Istanbul today.

“This is what everybody in the Arab world is talking about these days – Turkey being a good model, Turkey being a blend of Islam and democracy… So we wanted to come here and see what kind of Turkey it is presenting a model for the rest of the Arab world,” Tim Sebastian told Hürriyet Daily News in an interview Jan. 11.

The special session of the Doha Debates, to be held at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, will discuss the controversial motion “This House believes Turkey is a bad model for the Arab World.”

A lot of people in the Islamic world do see Turkey as a model, Sebastian said. However, “The Western countries have two views of Turkey at the moment. The first one is that it is a successful blend of Islam and democracy, but the second is that of huge reservations relating to human rights issues in the country. Everybody raises this question in the West.”

Sebastian, the first host of BBC’s flagship interview program “HARDtalk,” said he would have liked to interview the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were he still hosting the show. “There are lots of questions to ask, but firstly I would like to ask him about the freedom of expression in Turkey,” he said.