Monday, April 30, 2007

Analysis: The Turkish military weighs in

ISTANBUL - Turkey's presidential election, once considered a simple matter by a Parliament under single-party domination, has become a major case before the Constitutional Court - complicated by a sudden military involvement.

When Parliament voted on Friday, the sole candidate was Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, an affable 57-year-old politician and a ranking member of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). His election would have brought the first Islam-inspired politician with a headscarf-wearing wife to the presidency of constitutionally secular Turkey.

But in the face of fierce opposition by secular deputies, Gul received 357 votes - 10 short of the required two-thirds majority...

While eyes were turned to the Constitutional Court, which could give a decision before the second round of voting on Wednesday or later, the country was rocked by an unexpected development: the military, which has staged four coups since 1950, weighed in with an unexpected communique a few hours after the voting.

Read the rest at Asia Times