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Can Tunisia or Egypt find role model in Turkey?

Turkey has raised its voice for Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to step aside, as it tries to burnish its credentials as the region’s 'model' democratic, modern, and Islam-leaning state.

The clash between pro- and anti-Mubarak supporters escalated in Cairo's Tehrir Square on Feb. 2.

Ann Hermes/Staff

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Turkey has raised its voice for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step aside, as it tries to burnish its credentials as the region’s “model” democratic, modern, and Islam-leaning state.

After days of official silence as violence first began raging across Egypt – and a chorus of complaints in the Turkish media that the ruling party’s ambitions of regional leadership were proving shallow – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pulled out the stops.

Mr. Mubarak’s promise not to seek another term in elections was not enough.

“People expect Mubarak to take a much different step,” Mr. Erdogan said on Wednesday, during a visit to Kyrgyzstan. “This is the expectation of the people…. The current administration [of Mubarak] fails to give confidence for beginning an atmosphere of democracy within a short period of time.”

Turkey has increasingly flexed its regional diplomatic muscle under the leadership of Erdogan’s Islam-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP). Some have referred to Turkey’s robust foreign policy as “neo-Ottomanism.”

Though Turkey has witnessed four military coups since 1960 – the latest, in 1997, pushed from power the overtly Islamist Welfare Party, the precursor to the more moderate AKP – Turkey’s democratic development is seen as a worthy example by some activists from Tunis to Cairo.

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