World Bulletin/News Desk
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki warned on Tuesday that there was no returning from the revolution in Tunisia, adding that the success of the Arab Spring as a whole was closely linked to the success of the civil resistance that led to the overthrowing of a dictatorship in his country.
"Tunisia, as you know, is the country that ignited the Arab Spring; a precedent, or you can call it a laboratory," Marzouki said, addressing at a working meal in capital Ankara.
"World powers are now looking at Tunisia, hoping its revolution will succeed. Because, as they point out, if the revolution fails there, it would falter in all other Arab states," Marzouki said.
The president said Tunisia lost too much time under the previous regime, which established itself as a dictatorship for over 30 years.
"If we had been able to take advantage of those years, we'd be talking about a different Tunisia today," Marzouki said.
Democracy 'a matter of culture
Tunisia struggles with numerous difficulties and challenges, he said, but "thanks to our will, unity and energy, the regime that we want will eventually take root and democracy will flourish."
Democracy needs to be supported by other factors, such as a strong economy, Marzouki said, adding, "democracy is a matter of culture. When people are hungry, you can't talk about culture, nor about freedoms."
Marzouki said his country wished to leverage Turkish businessmen's trade experiences. "Your investments in Tunisia will prove successful and bring good returns," he said, adding, "with your investment efforts, you will not only benefit Tunisia, but the whole Arab world."
Meanwhile, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, President of Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), emphasized Tunisia's historic and strategic value for Turkey and its region.
"We witnessed Tunisia's uniqueness once again at the turn of the 21st century," Hisarciklioglu said, adding, "the descendants of the great philosopher Ibn Khaldun, 700 years later, guided the revolution we know as the Arab Spring, thus pioneering a new era."
Tunisia's fight for democracy inspired many peoples in North Africa and Middle East, he said, and added, "Turkey, like many countries in the region, supports the revolution whole-heartedly."
The states in the region have made many mistakes, Hisarciklioglu said. "Looking back, we as the countries in this region were not able to make the best of our potential. We couldn't turn the chances we had into opportunities for cooperation. But the future is full of light and hope," he added.
Hisarciklioglu cited two factors that became prominent for development on this matter: the first, he said, is openness to transformation, and the second strengthening ties.
"What we mean by transformation is for all the countries in the region to become market economies with diverse production capabilities," he said.
Turkey wants to deepen its relations with Tunisia, Hisarciklioglu said, because "we, as the Turkish business world, want to invest in Tunisia's future."
The President of the chambers union expressed disappointment at the trade volume between the two countries, saying the existing friendship and increasingly enhanced ties between them merit more.
Tunisia's first industrial site
Hisarciklioglu called on Turkish and Tunisian parties to work together for expanding trade possibilities, even as the two states continue to cooperate on a number of joint projects for improving economic partnership.
The Ostim industrial zone in Turkey, with its 5.000 businesses and 50.000 workers, has been accepted as a model for Tunisia's first industrial site, he said, adding the work was under way for Turkish companies to make their investments in this new site.
"I'd like to underline the fact that the fate of Tunisia, with which we have a shared history, is our fate," Hisarciklioglu said, adding, "our joy and our sadness have always been common, and will continue to be."Last Mod: 28 Mayıs 2013, 19:08