Tunisian revolution not for export: Rachid Ghannouchi

By Adil Essabiti

TUNIS (AA) – The Tunisian revolution is not to be exported to other countries, Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, said.

“The Tunisian revolution was a local formula for solving internal problems,” Ghannouchi told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

“The revolution is not for export,” he said.

In 2011, mass street protests led to the ousting of longtime autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolutions that swept several Arab countries such as Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Ghannouchi said Ennahda movement is committed to the foreign policy of the Tunisian state.

“We don’t need to take lessons from anyone about this,” he said.

-National unity

The Ennahda leader said terrorism was on the decline in Tunisia.

Last week, a woman blew herself up in the capital Tunis, killing herself and injuring dozens.

“This was a primitive attempt that showed that terrorism was declining and that our security forces succeeded in dismantling terror networks,” he said.

“Tunisia will defeat terrorism and remain united, thanks to the unity of its people and its army,” he said.

Ghannouchi said Ennahda rejects the monopoly of the political scene by any party.

“Our policy is built on the principle of partnership and participation for all,” he said.

“The current circumstances require national unity and enhancing political, security, economic and social stability,” Ghannouchi said.

-Khashoggi’s murder

Ghannouchi described murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “victim of political violence”.

“All parties, including our brothers in Saudi Arabia, have mobilized to condemn the incident and search for the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he said.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive paperwork he needed to get married.

Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.

Ghannouchi described relations with Saudi Arabia as “brotherly and good”, regretting attempts to take his speech about Khashoggi’s murder “out of context”.

“This was an attempt to sow sedition between us and both the Tunisian Presidency and the Kingdom, which is an irresponsible and immoral behavior,” he said.

The Ennahda leader had earlier likened Khashoggi to Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor who became a catalyst for the Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi said he did not mean to “interfere in the affairs of the state or to refer to anything related to this regime or that”.

He said he drew the comparison between Khashoggi and Bouazizi “out of sympathy”.

“Bouazizi was a symbol of resistance against the former regime and Khashoggi was a victim of political violence against journalists,” he argued.

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