The Corner

What Is the Turkish Model?

Both pundits and diplomats are suggesting that a post-Mubarak Egypt might adopt a “Turkish model,” a reference to the supposed balance between political Islam and democracy.

The irony, however, is that while Egypt moves toward a Turkish model, Prime Minister Erdogan is embracing a Muslim Brotherhood model in which he eviscerates democracy in all but name. Now, while Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, talks a good game about how Turkey provides “inspiration to all countries of the same faith,” the Turkish government not only tries to shut down the free press at home, but some Turks acknowledge that Namik Tan’s colleagues in the Turkey’s foreign ministry have embraced the Saudi model and begun launching “libel tourism” suits against some of those abroad who question Erdogan’s commitment to democracy.

U.S.-policy concern regarding the Muslim Brotherhood rests upon suspicion about a dissonance between what the group says and what it does. With the latest barrage of libel-tourism threats, it seems that Turkey’s embassy in Washington has become ‘Exhibit A’ in that suspicion.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.

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