World Bulletin / News Desk
Despite political tension, two assassinations, economic turmoil and terrorist attacks, Tunisia managed to ratify a new, progressive constitution on January 26. The leader of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda Movement, Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, spoke to Anadolu Agency (AA) about the constitution, Turkey's political system and Egypt's "military coup".
The constitution, Ghannouchi says, is “a marriage between Islam and democracy, between Islam and human rights, between Islam and universal values." But Tunisia, he says, is still facing two major challenges: security and the economy.
"Without addressing those two challenges the nascent experience of democratic transition in Tunisia faces the risk of abortion," said Al-Ghannouchi.
Al-Ghannouchi says Tunisia needs to fight violence and weapons smuggling "which threaten the stability of the country." As for the economic challenge: he says there has been no real socio-economic change despite economic growth, which increased from -2% to 3.5%. The North African country also still has a high rate of unemployment, despite a decrease from 19% to 15.6 %.
He said that the marginalized regions where the revolution sparkled "still feel there is no improvement."
In 2013, Tunisia witnessed what its President Moncef Marzouki described as "one of the most dangerous years in the modern history of Tunisia.” More than 30 security officers, from both the military and police, were killed in several terrorist attacks.
Al-Ghannouchi said the phenomenon of terrorism is "a complex one and therefore it needs complex solutions." The first of these solutions, he says, is to bolster security and the role of law, while the other is to address socio-economic issues.
"As the majority of the young people who turned into terrorists come from poor and marginalized areas where the rate of joblessness is very high," says Al-Ghannouchi.
The third solution is cultural, which means "establishing a reinterpretation of Islam," he says. "We need to build a national front against terrorism."
Turkey: A model to follow not to imitate
The system adopted in Turkey in recent years, where religious life has functioned more closely with democracy, is something some have said could be emulated by Tunisia, though al-Ghannouchi does not believe in copying the system wholesale.
"The Turkish model is much more entrenched in democracy, it is a model that nascent democracies need to learn from," he says, adding that "the Tunisian model has its specificities, it’s the result of different cultural, social and political circumstances and factors."
"[Countries need to] emulate Turkey's political and especially its economic successful experience," he says.
Egypt: Military coup cannot achieve democracy
He also said that Egypt's military coup is not the right way for political leadership to be decided.
"The opposition in Egypt has to understand that the Muslim Brotherhood is a large faction of the Egyptian society that you cannot ignore or exclude if they want to achieve real democracy in the country," he said.
He also called for a national dialogue to be started by all political players, "who believe in achieving the objectives of the revolution," and added that the international community should "stand by peoples and not by despots."
Since launching a military campaign last year against the hardline ISIL group in Syria and Iraq, Washington is now less focused than before on seeking Assad's downfall
The emerging fragmentation of the Arabian Peninsula country has sparked fears of the "Somalisation" of a state
Saudis suspend aid to Yemen, its most potent leverage
Media front of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes into focus following Jim Clancy's resignation after comments criticizing Israel.
"The word 'freedom' is used by Western governments in ways to their liking and manipulation – a tool not accorded to the rest of the world"
While PEGIDA leaders deny they are racist, slogans like 'No Sharia!' and 'In 2035 Germans will be a minority!' betray a hostility to foreigners.
Few if any of Russia's former Soviet neighbours can escape the impact of its crisis, deepened by oil prices plunging to almost six-year lows, and the pain may encourage some to think more independently
Whilst the Hui Chinese Muslims are free to practise their religion, the clampdown of the Chinese government means the road to Kazakhistan is a door for religious freedom for the Uigurs.
After communist regime collapsed in Bulgaria, everything is not so well for Turks however at least they do not have a state that wants them to change their name
Evidence collected at the ICMP's identification centre in the city of Tuzla, housed in a sport centre, has been used in hundreds of criminal cases since the war.
Jammeh, 49, assumed power through a military coup 20 years ago
One possible scenario is for King Abdullah to step down, given his health condition, to ensure a smooth succession of power while he is still alive.
Symbolic support for Palestinian statehood was brought about by a series of motions adopted by a number of European parliaments
On Dec. 27, after building their military presence, the Soviet Union seized control in Afghanistan
A decade after Boxing day tsunami, Baan Nam Khem villagers still affected by disaster
Baltic and Nordic countries in particular - all members of NATO or the European Union or both - have reported increased Russian air force activity.Outside the Baltics, experts say they worry about incidents around the Senkaku Islands between China and Japan