Interview with Ambassador Erdogan Iscan - The Korea Times - 07.03.2011

Erdoğan İşcan 07.03.2011
Turkey ready to help neighbors shift to democracy: ambassador

By Kim Young-jin

Turkey is ready to help its neighbors upended by popular uprisings that have swept the Arab world establish governments based on international democracy norms, its top envoy in Seoul says.

“We are a regional power aware of our responsibility and capability to be a model and contributor to developments in our region towards peace and prosperity on the basis of democracy,” Turkish Ambassador to Korea Erdogan Iscan said in a recent interview at his Seoul office.

“We are maintaining our contacts (where uprisings have occurred), trying to help those countries in transforming towards democracy through dialogue and non-violent methods.”

Many analysts have pointed to secular Turkey as a model for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, where the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt have been forced to step down and international pressure grows for Libyan leadership to follow suit.

Predominantly Muslim and straddling both Asia and Europe, Turkey is often considered to play a bridging role given its policy of aligning with Western democratic norms. The process has accelerated under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has also overseen the doubling of its GDP in eight years.

Ankara largely downplays the potential of serving as a model ? saying there exists no one-size-fits-all formula fo

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