Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Gul Wins

Abdullah Gul has just been elected President of Turkey:
"Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was elected today in a third round of voting by parliament to become Turkey's first conservative Muslim president. That has 'Ataturk's children,' including the military, concerned that, with Gul as president, the AK party will have a free hand to push through what they see as a secret agenda to undermine secularism...

"Many Turkish secularists decry what they see as the AK party's insincere stance on secularism and its champion, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey.

"The protests sparked in April by Gul's first bid to become president triggered a political crisis and a stern warning by the staunchly secular military, which has unseated four elected governments in the last half century.

"But in early elections on July 22 called to end the crisis, Erdogan's pro-business AK party emerged even stronger, taking nearly half the votes. That new strength in parliament is set to elevate Gul to the presidency.

"Now, the question is whether the secular foundations of Ataturk's republic can survive with a conservative Muslim president whose wife wears a head scarf -- a taboo in Turkey."



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