By Ece Koc

Building Bridges is show broadcast on A9 TV channel. Many important figures appear as guests on this program and offer their views and analysis on current topics of the day . One of our recent guests was Mr. Majid Rafizadeh, a famous Iranian-Syrian author voicing strong support for human rights in the Middle East. He offered his insights on the Arabic Spring, the Syrian civil war and many other important topics that concern not only everyone in the Middle East but also any person that wishes to play his part in the building of world peace .

Majid Rafizadeh, the famous Iranian-Syrian author voicing strong support for human rights in the Middle East spoke to A9 TV in Istanbul about many important topics including the Arab Spring, the latest Gaza incident and the ongoing Syrian upheaval.

Mr. Rafizadeh claimed that before the uprisings, the citizens in those countries were denied their basic rights including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and expression and other fundamental human rights although the laws of countries provided them with such rights. In all cases,   one singular incident was the final straw. Mr. Rafizadeh added that these people, as they rise up and stand for their rights, are  not seeking a fundamentalist regime in their countries like Iran. “‘No, they didn’t want that. I think what they wanted was simple, to be able to make themselves heard. I think to be able to enjoy their basic human rights, to speak, write, discuss and to do what we are doing now, discussing things bravely and to define their national values and their governance’”, he said during the interview.Mr. Rafizadeh also spoke about the importance of Turkey in the region and how it could play a major role in bringing stability and peace to the region: “Turkey might be the linchpin of many fundamental relationships in the Middle East, either in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Israel or even Western countries including Europe, United States and other powers like Russia. So I think Turkey can play an important role”, he said. Turkey in recent years has risen as a global power in the region, both with the role model character it is presenting to  hpw other Muslim countries in the region, a secular, modern Muslim country with democratic governance  and also with its character as a big brother protecting the needy, the poor and the downtrodden. Mr. Rafizadeh continues: “‘Turkey has, I think, aspired to portray itself as a country which has accountability and that can be trusted. For instance, you see many Arab countries are afraid of Iran, but they trust Turkey as a mediator. Turkey, I think, can now play, and is playing, a significant role in achieving a resolution with regard to Iran’s nuclear program. It’s a strong mediator. It also engaged in resolving matters in Syria. When the Syria regime attacked the people’s aspiration for democracy and used heavy weapons, I think Turkey tried to use different instruments (in regard) to the Syrian regime. They tried to bring the crisis to a halt. For example, they use diplomatic dialogue, sanctions, and now they are providing shelters for the Syrian refugees and creating humanitarian corridors. And I think, unlike other countries in the region like Iran, which has been supporting the present (Syrian) regime, I think Turkey has a different role.” Mr. Rafizadeh goes on to give some interesting information about the view of the people in the region regarding Turkey: “‘Actually it is interesting that in a recent poll in Egypt, in which they asked the people to rank six countries, I think the six countries were; Malaysia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and Tunisia. They asked them to rank this as a model that they would like for the role of Islam in their political system, and to rank the countries that come closest to their aspiration . And significantly, more than 54% chose Turkey’” and he concludes: “‘So I think Turkey can and is really playing an important role as a model for Muslim countries.’”Mr. Rafizadeh said that the Syrian conflict may spread to the entire region and says Turkey once again can play a role in trying to bring  this problem to an end: “‘But again I think that Turkey can play an important role by creating some safe buffer zones on the northern border. And I think it already provides shelters for refugees and I think it is uniting the opposition groups.’”