With much of the Arab world in chaos, the question of Turkey’s suitability as a model for Arab states in transition is becoming increasingly prominent. Turkey’s seemingly successful blend of Islam and democracy, as well as the country’s steady economic growth, are attractive points in its favor, but questions about respect for human rights norms remain a source of concern.
Recently, the Doha Debates hosted a vote on whether Turkey is an appropriate model for new Arab states. The Doha Debates are a debate series financed by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development that tackle controversial issues in the Arab world. Ece Temelkuran, an award winning Turkish journalist and author, and Hassan Mneimneh from the German Marshall Fund offered arguments on why Turkey is a bad model for new Arab states, while Carnegie’s Sinan Ülgen and Aboubakr Jamai, an award winning Moroccan journalist and co-editor of the Moroccan news website lakome.com, argued the opposite before a majority Turkish audience. In the end, the audience voted that Arab states should not follow their country’s example.
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