I don’t really care what your view of the AK Party is but here is an undeniable fact. Under the, you know, almost decade the near decade that they have been in power, Turkey has become a more democratic country than it has ever been since its founding eighty years ago.  This is the party that has given greater freedoms and rights to the religious minorities in Turkey to the ethnic minorities in Turkey.  It’s brought the country closer to Europe, it’s brought the country closer to the United States, and it’s brought the country closer to Israel.  Now a lot of people say, well, wait a second there’s all this animosity between the two.  The animosity is because Turkey is now an equal partner in that relationship which is always going to create a little bit of animosity but, you know, as far as trade relations go, as far as diplomatic relations go, you know, they’ve been closer under this party with Israel than, than any previous party.  This is a party that has just as…whose relations are just as good with Iran as they are with America.  They’re just as good with Hamas as they are with Israel.  This is a party that has provided until this last year, it’s not really their fault, seven consecutive record economic growth years in Turkey.  So we now have a situation in this strange country Turkey in which it turns out that this Secularists are, you know, are the one’s promoting violence and the Islamists are the democrats and why is that?  I think it’s precisely because of this reason that, you know, given within, you know, limits and regulations an opportunity to be part of the process; this is a party that has proven itself more than capable of responsible governance, indeed in my opinion they’ve proven themselves to be the most democratic party that country has ever seen in its history and I think that’s a vibrant example for the rest of Muslim majority states.  People ask me all the time, we’re out of time so we’re not going to be able to get too far end to this conversation about Iran, people ask me all the time what do you see for Iran in the future?  What do I see for Iran in the future?  Turkey that’s what I see for Iran in the future.  In fact in a very strange way, Turkey and Iran are moving, sort of, towards each other but from opposite ends, right?  They are both struggling with this fundamental problem of how to reconcile Islamic morality with the realities, the necessities of a modern constitutional democratic state. They started on different ends both ideologized societies, I say this very, you know, seriously because I personally for instance don’t find any difference between a country that forces its women to wear a certain kind of clothing in a country that forbids its women to wear certain kinds of clothing; it’s the same as far as I’m concerned, but two different ideologies moving closer to the center to a place where we can finally see the future of Islamic democracy in the nation.  So I think Turkey is on its way to becoming the model for a modern Muslim constitutional democratic state.

Interviewer 1:    Wait you told me to wrap up and I’m saying here we have one more question right there in the back.

Interviewer 5:    [1B] I have a different point of view but I would like to [1B].  You mentioned Turkey as being the role model for the Islamic world, how do you see the similarities…and how would you see the similarities and differences between the approach that Turkey is taking and countries like Malaysia on the Southeast Asia side are taking?

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