Two years after the fall of dictators in Egypt and Tunisia, both countries are struggling with political instability and socio-economic problems. Egypt’s experience with democracy ended with a violent coup d’état, while Tunisia is still struggling with the destabilizing effects of political assassinations and polarization. Since the toppling of the regimes, the revolutionary forces have become divided among themselves by entering a fierce ideological struggle. The two countries could not economically recover because the global economic crisis is still taking its toll and these nations remain politically instable. Are there any lessons from Turkey’s democratic transition for Egypt and Tunisia? I will elaborate on the current situations in Egypt and Tunisia by drawing similarities from the Turkish case.
Insights for Egypt’s and Tunisia’s Islamists from Turkish Experience of Democratic Transition
Turkey is achieved a viable combination of Islam, democracy and development. After prolonged periods of political instability and interruptions in democratic rule, the Islamic-leaning AK Party government overcame the hurdles preventing it from reaching power in the early 2000s. It achieved a significant degree of democratization and economic growth without oil or foreign aid and repeatedly won elections ever since. As such, the party’s success offers important lessons for Islamists in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco. The lessons of the Turkish experience are especially relevant in dealing with the opposition and democratization, as well as achieving stability and growth.
Tunisians rally to show their support for the ousted Egyptian president Morsi. EPA
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