Turkish ruling party model for Muslim states - Erdogan

  • 30 September 2012
  • From the section Europe
Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi (left) with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, 30 September
Image caption Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi (left) was among the leaders listening to Mr Erdogan's speech

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has said his ruling political party has become a model for others to follow in Muslim states.

He was addressing a congress of the AKP, the Islamist-rooted party which has dominated Turkey for a decade.

The presidents of Egypt and Kyrgyzstan were among the guests in Ankara.

Khaled Meshaal, exiled political leader of the Palestinian group Hamas, told the congress the party had shown the "bright face of Islam".

"Erdogan, you are not only a leader in Turkey now, you are a leader in the Muslim world as well," he said.

The AKP (Justice and Development Party) has won three consecutive election victories since 2002, ending a history of military coups and fragile coalition governments.

It has presided over strong economic growth and a more assertive foreign policy, combining economic liberalism with religious conservatism.

However, critics accuse Mr Erdogan of a confrontational style of politics.

"We called ourselves conservative democrats," he told the congress on Sunday.

"We focused our change on basic rights and freedom. This stance has gone beyond our country's borders and has become an example for all Muslim countries."

The BBC's James Reynolds at the conference says Mr Erdogan wandered the stage in shirt sleeves. He spoke for more than two hours, and looked comfortable enough to carry on all day.

The congress shows the extent of the prime minister's political ambition - our correspondent adds. Leading Turkey alone isn't enough for Mr Erdogan: he wants his country to take a leading role in the entire Middle East.

Guests at the congress included Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev and Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

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