Constanze Stelzenmüller wrote earlier this year that “history is not destiny.” It’s a phrase she believes applies to many aspects…
Guest Column by Kemal Kirişci. Kirişci will give Friday’s Morning Lecture in the Amphitheater at 10:45 a.m.
As the Arab Spring spread from Tunisia to the rest of the Middle East early in 2011, the longtime opposition figure Rashid al-Gannouchi, also the co-founder and leader of Tunisia’s an-Nahda party, was among the many leaders who pointed to Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led Turkey as a model for guiding the transformation of the Middle East. Gannouchi maintained close relations with AKP and its leadership, which later became closely involved in Tunisia’s transformation efforts. Yet, after a May 2013 talk on “Tunisia’s Democratic Future” at The Brookings Institution, Gannouchi’s response to a question asking him which countries he thought constituted a model for Tunisia was striking because he did not mention Turkey. It is probably not a coincidence that he responded the way he did because the news about the harsh police response to the initial stages of the anti-government protests in Turkey was just breaking out. Subsequently, in an interview he gave to Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post early in June, he also took a critical view of both Mohammed Morsi and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for their majoritarian understanding of democracy, a view that he said an-Nahda renounces. So what happened to Turkey’s model credentials? What might have led Gannouchi to change his views so dramatically? Are there any prospects for Turkey to reclaim these credentials?
The Declaration of Independence was more than just a break-up letter with England. It was an assertion of independence, a commitment to freedom and a symbol of the good of democracy defeating the evil of tyranny.
E.J. Dionne Jr. doesn’t question that. But he would rather the focus shift from the idea of individual independence to what he believes the declaration really was: A pledge of community members to one another.