Alexa

Erdogan meets ministers after military warning

After Gul fails to win first-round vote, pro-secular army wades in with rhetoric

Erdogan meets ministers after military warning

Turkey's prime minister met with his ministers yesterday, after the country's military expressed deep concern over presidential elections in a statement analysts said was an ultimatum to the Islamic-rooted government.
In a statement posted on its Web Site late Friday, the powerful pro-secular military said it was monitoring the elections with concern and indicated it was willing to become more openly involved.
Hours earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's presidential candidate - Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul - failed to win enough votes in a first round of voting in Parliament that has been marked by tensions between Erdogan's government and the defenders of Turkey's secular ideals. Opposition lawmakers have called for early elections as the only way out.
The military has staged several coups in past decades, and in 1997 led a campaign that pressured an Islamic party - of which Erdogan and Gul were both members - out of government. At the time, the military issued warnings to the government to curb Islamic initiatives, while people took to the streets in protest of the government policies.
The EU, which has been pressing Turkey to curb the military's influence in politics, said yesterday the election of a new president was a "test case" for the Turkish military's respect for democracy.
The president can veto legislation, and the prospect of electing a leading member of the pro-Islamic government has unnerved Turkey's secular establishment. Hundreds of thousands of people recently demonstrated for secular ideals in the capital, Ankara, and another large rally was planned in Istanbul for today.
"It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces is one of the sides in this debate and the absolute defender of secularism," the military statement said. "When necessary, they will display their attitudes and actions very clearly. No one should doubt that."


Updated : 2021-03-04 15:07 GMT+08:00