Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tunisian Islamist Rachid Ghannouchi said he was "closer to Erdogan"

TUNIS, Tunisia - Tunisia returned Sunday after more than 20 years of exile, the leader of the Tunisian Islamist movement "Ennahdha" Rached Ghannouchi assured it was "neither Khomeini nor bin Laden," but felt " nearest "Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In an interview with The Associated Press, the first granted to media after his return from exile, he rejected the image given by him by "certain Western media" in him "sticky cap Khomeini," the late Ayatollah in Iran.
"This image does not suit me. I'm not Khomeini or Taliban," he said.
"People should know that there is not one but many Islamic current," he said. "Why do they want to get closer to (the head of al-Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden or Khomeini," he asked, "I am closer to Erdogan."
"Besides, my books are translated into Turkish and the ruling Justice and Development was inspired," he was flattered.
He also sent a message to Tunisian women by asserting that his movement intends to "enhance (their) rights, not diminish them."
According to him, "fear" propagated against Ennahdha by "dictator" (referring to former President Ben Ali) are "false claims and illusions" aimed at "dividing society".
"This dictator has actually undermined the freedom of women and exploited through his wife (Leila Trabelsi) he set up as a bad example for the Tunisian society," he argues.
Asked about his goals, he said his movement "wants to make a serious contribution to the achievement of democratic change claimed in Tunisia." "For the revolution salutary Tunisian brought down a dictator, but the dictatorship remains in the Constitution, laws and institutions," he argued. "That's why it requires effort with the participation of all to establish a democratic system open to all currents in Tunisia."
"We want to change the Constitution because it was tailored for a ruler who was deified, above e laws of Parliament and has no accountability to anyone," he claimed.
Rached Ghannouchi called for a constitution for a democratic state where the president is a symbol that is part of a parliamentary system instead of a presidential system. "
He then called for the dismantling of "the institutions of repression" citing in particular the body of the State Security, that is to say, the political police.
He lamented about it, "great violence" which the police have used Friday to disperse protesters outside the government palace, which shows he believes that "violence and the political police exist and yet nothing has changed. "
He also criticized the initiative of the Transitional Government to establish three committees including the charge of political reform, and this "without the movement Ennahdha nor any other party have been consulted."
"So the future of Tunisia lies in the hands of a minority of people," he said, deploring the absence of a Constitutional Council to review the proposed legislation.
To a question on the recognition of its movement by the authorities, Rached Ghannouchi pointed out that "Ennahdha is a reality. It existed for 40 years and the dictator could not destroy." "If the government recognizes it as all parties committed, so much the better, if not Ennahdha is there," he said.
He also confirmed he will run for re-election as head of the movement that he is "the elected president since 2005. "I will give the presidency at the next meeting I hope soon, because I think there is a generation younger and more qualified than me now."
He also assured that he had "no ambition to occupy any position within the State, whether presidents, ministers or deputy".
For Rached Ghannouchi, its movement draws its values and philosophy of Islam and does not purport to speak for him (Islam).
He accused the former Tunisian president for bringing to the West "the fundamentalist threat" to receive aid and to silence protests against violations of human rights.
"The Tunisian elite knows the truth that we are a moderate and democratic movement," he pleaded.
He said that since 1988 he had said that the personal status code which established equality between woman and man and banned polygamy was "acceptable" to his movement. "So we do not strive to change," he said in declaring for freedom of worship and expression.
Asked about the issue of abortion which is said to be opposed, he tried to evade. According to him, "opinions differ on this, not only in Tunisia but also in USA, England and around the world." "Why classify people according to their points of view on a secondary queston?".
Aged 69, Sheikh Rashid, as he is known to his family, arrived Sunday in Tunis on a flight from London where he lived as a political refugee. Thousands of people came to welcome him to the airport. He had left the country in 1987 upon accession to power of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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