Ghannouchi holds news conference at the IHH
Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, head of the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia, held a news conference at the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation headquarters on Thursday about the latest developments in his countr
Africa, Tunisia, Turkey 03.03.2011

Ghannouchi said he came to Turkey to share the country’s grief over the death of former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan on Feb. 27. He said Erbakan was not only a friend of him but he was also his mentor and that he had an important place in the Arabic world.

Noting that the third government has been established in Tunisia following the public revolution in the country, Ghannouchi said: “The latest government has officially recognized the Ennahda Movement. This situation may not mean much for Turkey which has a multi-party and democratic system but it is very significant for us.”

Opposition leader Ghannouchi said the Ennahda Movement conveyed its demand to the government to become a political party for the first time in 1981 as he explained: “Not only our demand was rejected but also 500 of our fellows were arrested. 5.000 of our friends were arrested in our second attempt to become a party in 1985 while this figure rose to 30.000 in 1988. Taking these into consideration, recognition of Ennahda Movement as a political party in Tunisia is not an ordinary thing.”

Stressing that Tunisia is undergoing a transformation process, Ghannouchi said: “We are heading to a free Tunisia where there is a multi-party system from one which had a single-party rule. The revolution in Tunisia was not made only by a party alone but by the entire public. The Tunisian youth presented this revolution to their country as a gift. The revolutionist youth of Tunisia are still on duty in the streets to protect the revolution because the current administrations have not yet dealt with the remains of the dictatorship. Supporters of the  dictatorship are trying to take control in some institutions. So, two governments had to resign over the past month and the third government has been established. The revolutionary power in the streets insists on change. The pro-status quo and reactionist circles in the country are insisting to keep the status quo. We believe that the pro-change will win.”

“Harvest season is to begin”

Answering questions from reporters, Ghannouchi said the Ennahda Movement has become one of the most important political parties of Tunisia following its official recognition and that protecting the interests of Tunisia is the movement’s priority from now on.

Noting that they want to beginning of the democratic process in Tunisia and reform of all the institutions which are the legacy of the dictatorship as soon as possible, Ghannouchi said: “We think that all the governments that will be established in the future should be governments of alliance and all the political parties should make a contribution to them. We think that this government should prioritize social and economic issues. One of the reasons that led to the public revolution in Tunisia is the big differences among the segments of the society. If the giant economic differences in the country are not balanced, the turmoil will continue. Most importantly, our country should be closed to outside interventions.”

Ghannouchi said he has no plans to run for any state post in the future and since the revolution has been made by the youth, the youth should always be in the forefront in Tunisia. He said he could take part in social project and continue to word for the promotion of the Islamic thought.

The Tunisian opposition leader said his country is proud of pioneering change in the Islamic world and that no regime in the Arabic world will remain unshaken by the winds of change from now on. “The fire of the revolution in Tunisia will shake all the dictatorships in the Arabic world. It is impossible for the winds of the change to stop particularly after the regime change in Egypt. This big quake will unseat many dictators. It seems that the fruits are ripe and the harvest season is to begin soon. A very big change is likely to take place in Libya, too.”

Upon a question, Ghannouchi said he could take part in the interim government in Tunisia and his party will run in the first elections in the country.

Ghannouchi also said his party has no fears about a military intervention as he added: “The military has no experience about ruling the country in the history of Tunisia. It is small army and played a significant role in the revolution. We welcomed the Tunisian army with love because the military resisted against the dictator’s order to open fire on the public. The military still plays a big role in the prevention of the conflicts which are aimed by the supporters of the dictator regime.”

“We learn much from Turkey’s experience

When asked: “What kind of a contribution can the Turkish government make to Tunisia?” Ghannouchi said: “Turkey’s experience gives significant inspiration to the Arabic world. The developments in Turkey are the best contribution that can be made to the Arabic world. We particularly learn much about how Islam and modernity can be reconciled from Turkey’s case. Turkey is a very good example in reconciling modernity with Islam.”

To another question asking about a possible United States interference in Libya, Ghannouchi said: “We never approve of any outside intervention that will meddle in the domestic affairs of the Arabic world. No outside intervention has brought good to any country. Libya will solve its problems on its own. The cases of Iraq and Afghanistan are obvious. A possible United States’ intervention in Libya will bring the United States’ own end.”

With regard to claims that the United States has got rid of a Tunisian leader who no longer works for its interest, he explained: “This is exactly incorrect. The Tunisian youth have made the revolution. The United States wants to claim this revolution in cheap way. The revolutions in both Tunisia and Egypt have been made despite the objection of the international powers. Europe and the United States supported the dictators in the Arab world until the moment they were overthrown by the public. When the public overthrew the dictators, Europe and the United States just showed no interest in them. The plane of ousted Tunisian leader Zeynel Abidin Ben Ali flew over Europe for seven hours and no European country wanted to open their arms to him. Why do we downplay our own people and elevate the United States as if we cannot make a revolution in our country and it can only be made by the will of the United States. The United States is not a god in our culture. The people are resisting in the region and they are holding demonstrations against dictators. Why do we downplay their power and relate all the results with the United States?”

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