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8/31/15

Turkey: What Tunisia Could Teach Turkey About Democracy - by Marc Champion

When it comes to democracy, perhaps Tunisia should now be teaching Turkey.

After the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, it seemed as if it would be the other way around. Then, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now president, toured the region in triumph, promoting the so-called Turkish model of reconciling Islamism with democracy to produce prosperity. He even publicly advised Egypt's short-lived Muslim Brotherhood government to adopt a secular constitution, much to its irritation.

The Arab Spring, of course, quickly turned to nightmare -- except in Tunisia. Ennahda, that country's iteration of the Brotherhood, chose to share power and form a coalition with secular parties, rather than try to rule alone and impose its views. That consensual approach to politics has made Tunisia a target for attack by extremist groups, such as Islamic State, and the country has struggled to return to pre-2011 growth rates.

Still, Ennahda's choice has made Tunisia the sole democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring, and the country has avoided the civil strife experienced in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Yemen.
Erdogan has now chosen the opposite path.

Read more: What Tunisia Could Teach Turkey About Democracy - Bloomberg View

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