Turkey Elects New President Aug 28

Darrell L. Bock's picture

The election of the Majority Islamic (AKP) party's candidate in Turkey has taken place. We noted the build up to this result earlier this summer. Here is the report from CNN:Former Islamist Abdullah Gul has been elected president of Turkey following a contest that has split the nation and drawn opposition from the army. Gul, the country's current foreign minister, won the third round vote Tuesday at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, backed by 339 out of the 448 lawmakers who attended the session. He was expected to take over from current incumbent President Ahmet Necdet Sezer later on Tuesday in a ceremony barred to the media, The Associated Press reported. The election has stoked divisions between supporters of Gul, a former Islamist who is backed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkey's traditionally secular political establishment. On Monday Turkey's top military chief warned that the division between religion and the state was being threatened by "centers of evil." "Our nation has been watching the behavior of those separatists who can't embrace Turkey's unitary nature, and centers of evil that systematically try to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic," said General Yasar Buyukanit in a note, posted on the military's Web site. The military is distrustful of Gul, who served as minister in a banned Islamist party in 1997. It regards itself as the upholder of secularism, on which the state is built, and has overthrown four governments since 1960, the last 10 years ago. But Reuters reports that many analysts are downplaying the chances of military intervention should Gul be elected, especially given AKP's success in recent general elections that saw Erdogan returned to power. "The army is back in the barracks but its soldiers are still keeping guard and remain on the lookout," said Dogu Ergil of Ankara University.(end of CNN report)Turkish Leadership: Presidential candidate Abdullah Gul (right) with PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan at last week's second presidential vote. _______________________________________________________________________It will take a little time to see what this means as the party up to this point has had a moderate Islamic style. It also will be interesting to see how Europe reacts to thisnot entirely unexpected result after the elections earlier this summer put the party in a stronger position. The AKP party has pushed for EU entry as part of its platform.Turkey has improved its economic position significantly during its rule as well.  

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