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AK Party’s democratic success sets model for Middle East
AK Party’s democratic success sets model for Middle East
The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) election’s victory has become the first item on the region’s agenda, according to the Middle Eastern politicians and academics Today’s Zaman spoke to yesterday.
Tuesday, July 24,2007 09:41

The Justice and Development Party"s (AK Party) election"s victory has become the first item on the region"s agenda, according to the Middle Eastern politicians and academics Today"s Zaman spoke to yesterday.
A prominent journalist in the Arab world, Fehmi Huveydi describes the AK Party success as the public"s resistance to the status quo meanwhile the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a political Islamic movement, argues that anti-democratic regimes in the region must conduct a proper evaluation of the elections. Ahram newspaper writer and the soon to be editor in chief of Bediil newspaper Muhammed Seyyid Said holds the view that Islamic movements in the region should refer to the election results to improve themselves.
Noting that democracy has won in Turkey"s elections against all odds, Huveydi says Middle East countries should understand that no movement should be left out of the democratic race. The reluctance of some movements to enter the elections is one of the biggest obstacles in front of democracy, Huveydi says adding that the AK Party"s success will have both deep direct and indirect effects on the region.

“I wish Egypt and Middle Eastern countries could take a lesson from Turkey"s democracy experience,” said Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammed Mehdi Akif, ensuring they would learn from Turkey"s transparent and democratic struggle. Noting that his only concern over the elections is that it might foster a deeper polarization in the public, Said noted that if this danger is prevented, then the AK Party will leave great marks in Turkey"s history.

Said believes Islamic parties in the Middle East should be the first to learn from the AK Party"s democratic struggle. “They must be democratic themselves before requesting democracy from others. These movements are not transparent and do not comply with democratic norms,” he said.

Ahram Strategic Research Center Vice President Hasan Ebu Talip describes the elections as the “public"s defeat of the status quo and crisis.” Highlighting that the Middle East must analyze the elections for the sake of democracy, democratic struggle and transparency, Ebu Talip said: “As the Middle East there is a lot we can learn from this election. We must learn a lot about Turkey. Turkey is not well understood.” He also noted that the Turkish public has communicated a strong message to Europe and the great powers that the real power in Turkey is the public. International Future and Strategic Research Center Vice President Adil Suleyman says the elections will bring more voice to Turkey in the Middle East and strategic research centers in the region will focus more on Turkey.

‘AK Party will not intervene in northern Iraq’

Aside from the elections, a cross border intervention was another development closely followed by the Middle East. However military intervention in northern Iraq seems very unlikely. Huveydi says the AK Party won vast support from Kurds and will not launch a military intervention in northern Iraq with its current politics. However, if Turkey does launch a military intervention in just northern Iraq, most Arab countries will show tolerance towards Turkey.

However, Muslim Brotherhood leader Akif argues a military operation will be inappropriate and will attract too much of a reaction. He believes Turkey"s first priority should be to resolve the Kurdish problem and repair Kurdish rights.

Noting that a military intervention in northern Iraq is unlikely during the AK Party administration, Hasan Ebu Talip says: “The government continuously sought dialogue and resisted pressures from within. I do not think any intervention from this point on will be beneficial. The only solution is dialogue between Baghdad and Ankara. This government will seek to resolve the problem with a political game, instead of a military game.”


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