POMED-SAIS Event - “Islamist Political Participation and Democratic Development: The Cases of Turkey and Morocco”

Event Summary

POMED and the International Development Program at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) co-sponsored a panel discussion today of recent developments in Turkey and Morocco, focusing on the pressing questions of Islamism and democratization currently facing the Middle East and North Africa.

Author Geneive Abdo, IRI’s Anthony Chang, and Matthew Frumin of NDI engaged in a vibrant discussion of the recent elections in Morocco and Turkey, and also addressed issues of Islamist political participation across the region. The event was moderated by POMED Research Director Shadi Hamid.

Frumin warned of the “real risks” of freezing non-violent Islamist parties out of the democratic process, while Abdo spoke of the “moderating influence” on Islamist parties as they become politically “savvy” and “reach out to more secular groups” through political participation.

Chang hailed the election of Turkey’s religiously-affiliated AKP, and its commitment to democracy and secularism under its tenure, as positive developments.

Abdo cautioned, however, against equating the situations in Morocco or Turkey with those in the Arab Middle East, using Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as an example of the specifically internal dynamics that give rise to Islamist movements and their nonviolent participation in politics.

Event Details

Date and Time: September 27, 2007 12:00-2:00pm

Geneive Abdo, Century Foundation Fellow and author
Anthony Chang, Deputy Director for the Europe Division of the International Republican Insititute (IRI)
Matthew Frumin, Senior Advisor at the National Democratic Institute

Shadi Hamid, POMED Director of Research


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