Egypt’s young revolutionaries hold Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) as an example for Egypt in its democratic struggle. Their praise the AKP’s ability to cope with secular democracy in a mostly Muslim society.
But the reason behind the Turkish islamists’ pragmatism and acceptance of secular democracy is clearly identifiable: it is those neoliberal reforms in the 1980s which created a class of businessmen advocating for political pragmatism, stability, a small state, and strong links to the European Union as an economic partner. It is those Islamists who created the AKP.
Conversely, Mubarak’s neoliberalism only benefitted himself and his cronies. Today, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party advocates for a greater role for the state with strict control over economic aspects such as planning, production, price regulation…etc. And unlike its Turkish counterpart, religion occupies the center of the stage for the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Daily Star, Lebanon