Turkish Army Delivers Veiled Threat against Gul

World | August 27, 2007, Monday // 00:00

The Turkish military delivered a new veiled threat against the country's ruling AK party and its presidential nominee Abdullah Gul, who is expected to win the presidential vote in the third round of voting on Tuesday.

In a statement marking the 85th anniversary of a major offensive from the Turkish war of independence, the chief of armed forces, gen. Yasar Buyukanit warned of"centres of evil" trying to undermine the secular nature of Turkey.

Although he did not specifically name Gul or the AK, the army has long voiced its disapproval of his nomination for the job, whose holders have veto power over new legislation.

Gul is a devout Muslim and the AK has roots in political Islam, giving rise to fears among Turkish secularists that the party is pursuing an Islamist agenda and could undermine the existing constitution if it had control of both the parliament and the presidency.

Gul's failed presidential bid in spring forced AK to call snap polls, which it won by a landslide last month.

He needs only 276 MP votes to be elected president on Tuesday. The AK has 340 seats in the parliament.

However, that is unlikely to stop the military, which sees itself as the guardian of the secularist state, from toppling the government should it believe that the AK is infringing on the secular nature of the state.

Army coups put an end to four governments over the past six decades.

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