Tunisian Islamist leader to hold talks in Turkey in March

Ghannouchi said that he would soon quit as the leader of Ennahda.

Tunisian Islamist leader to hold talks in Turkey in March

The long-exiled leader of Tunisian Islamist opposition party, who has recently returned to his country after more than 20 years, has said that he would pay a visit to Turkey in March.

In an exclusive interview with AA, Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda's leader Rachid Ghannouchi said that he planned to hold talks with Justice and Development (AK) Party executives, Felicity Party (SP) chairman Necmettin Erbakan and representatives of the Turkish media as part of his upcoming visit.

Ghannouchi stated that he would exchange views with Turkish officials regarding the latest developments in Tunisia and ask for the support of Turkish nation during his talks in Turkey.

Commenting on the incidents in his country, Ghannouchi said the collapse of Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali government had not surprised him at all.

Ghannouchi noted that the ousted president of Tunisia had closed all the doors in the country, had not allowed for reforms and kept people under pressure, and such stance left the nation with no other alternative than to revolt.

"Quitting as leader of Ennahda"

Ghannouchi also said that he would soon quit as the leader of Ennahda, as he did not want to assume any political duties in any section of the government.

He said the Ennahda movement would elect its new leader at a congress to be held this year, adding that his party worked for the successful completion of the transition process in Tunisia.

Commenting on relations between Turkey and Tunisia, Ghannouchi said that the two countries had many similarities.

Pointing to the reformation process experienced by Turkey in the 19th century, Ghannouchi said Tunisia had also gone through a similar process in the same period.

Describing Turkey as "a successful synthesis of Islam and modernism", Ghannouchi said "AK Party is also a successful experience of a modern Muslim administration".

Tunisia saw Turkey as a role model in that aspect, he added.

Expressing his appreciation over Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's recent visit to Tunisia, Ghannouchi said Davutoglu was the first foreign minister that had visited the country after the revolution.

Noting that he believed Turkey's support to Tunisia would continue during the country's transition process, Ghannouchi said encouraging the Arab world to proceed from dictatorial regimes to democracy would be a beneficial move for Turkey.

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's main Islamist movement Ennahda, had gone into exile in London in 1989.

Ennahda had officially won some 17 percent of the vote, coming second only to the ruling party in the elections held in Tunisia the same year.

Upon such popularity, President Ben Ali banned the movement and cracked down on its members. Many went into exile and many more were jailed during the 1990s, accused of involvement in a plot to overthrow the secular state.

Ghannouchi has returned home after 22 years in exile following the ousting of President Ben Ali in January.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Şubat 2011, 13:30