Interviewer 4: –to the very first democratic elections in Turkey and then they have morphed in different shapes and parties and they are now the AK party never been associated with any sort of violence–
Interviewer 4: –and they represent the aspirations of some sort of religious sometimes more sometimes less pious center. So maybe you can reflect a bit of the differences between several groups and the simple question is you talk about these two groups understandably defined in antagonistic terms with the West and the United States so that you have this under Islamist. Could you please reflect a bit on maybe a third category which is Muslim networks in the West and in the United States which are actually market friendly, technology friendly, West friendly and what do you think of the capacity of these Western Muslim networks to affect the terms of discourse between the West and Islam and maybe within Islam itself.
Interviewee: Thank you–
Interviewer 4: Thank you very much.
Interviewee: –very good questions and thank you for giving me a chance to talk about Turkey because I could talk about Turkey all day long. I think that Turkey is the future of the Middle East and indeed the future of the Muslim world if such a thing can be said to exist. You’re absolutely right. I mean the comparison that I was making between AK and say Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood was not a comparison in so far as strategy or tactic. It was a comparison in so far as these are all groups that were outlawed by society, outlawed by the ruling government because of their ideologies and then when that restriction was slowly and gradually removed and they were given an opportunity to actually take part in the political process to make their views, their agendas, their ideology part of the market place of ideas, two things happened. One they were forced to moderate their ideology in order to deal with the realities of governance. I mean, the fact is, is that when you’re in charge of keeping the lights on, when you’re in charge of making sure you civil servants get their checks on time, you don’t have a lot of time for ideological rigidity and if you do, guess what happens the next time elections roll around, this always takes me to that sort of one argument that people make about how, you know, that the problem with Bush’s Democracy Doctrine was that an election does not a democracy make. Yes, absolutely true; an election does not a democracy make. Two elections back to back, is a pretty good start though; three is even better. The problem with Bush’s Democracy Project is that after the first election, it was over. So in the case of the AK Party of course, given the opportunity to become part of, you know, the political process, they did moderate their ideology; that’s the first thing that happens. The second thing that happens is that society suddenly realizes that actually, you know, they’re not about to destroy the constitution and, you know, force Islamic law upon everyone and so they become even more popular. So they change and the society itself changes. In the case of Turkey, what we have here is sort of, the example that puts the lie to this argument…this legitimacy of blackmail that I was referring to earlier, this notion that if we allow these groups to have some kind of power, well then, you know, by definition we’ll do away with all our democratic rights.