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."
Racism expert says Germany should come to grips with problems of structural racism and denial
German diplomatic offensive fails to sway Putin; focus shifts to Kiev leadership, EU sanctions unity
U.S. officials with knowledge of Hagel's relationship with the Obama administration described increasingly uneasy ties between Hagel's Pentagon and the White House - although not between the two men themselves.
Lawyers for the banks are preparing legal actions against Russia, which confiscated many of the banks' buildings, equipment and cash.
Survey claims almost 36 million people worldwide subjected to modern slavery in 2014, found forms of forced servitude in all 167 countries surveyed
Well-known American author of Jewish origin who gained recognition for his works on the Israel-Palestine conflict talks to World Bulletin
Afghanistan's fragile economy is failing to provide jobs for its youth, who are leaving the country in search of employment
Tomorrow is the 31st anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Still unrecognized, its citizens – proud of their identity – talk about the struggles they face.
U.S. officials fear the new Chinese-led institutions will lend to projects that are unable to secure financing from other multilateral institutions, rendering the conditionality ineffective.
Some in Brussels are disillusioned by the experience of helping Ukraine. EU generosity in waiving import duties and funding gas supplies from Russia may be being abused, they say.
As Washington seeks to expand American interests in Asia as a counterpoint to China's growing influence, some U.S. partners have shown less willingness to challenge Beijing
As settlement expansion and Jewish access to holy site fuel anger, some see another Palestinian Intifada coming
His fall revealed the gulf between those he ruled and Western governments, who saw him as a useful ally against militant forces in the turbulent Sahel.
Japanese government funds budgeted for reconstruction and transferred to local governments are stuck in banks across the tsunami-ravaged northeast
National Front candidates across the country criticised the rise of kebab shops, with one coining the phrase that France was undergoing a "kebabisation".
The current agitation in Indian-Held Kashmir is rooted in the struggle of the people for the exercise of the right of self-determination