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Tens of thousands of Turks protest Islamic-rooted government

Tens of thousands of Turks protest Islamic-rooted government

Tens of thousands of secular Turks gathered in Istanbul on Sunday, chanting slogans against the pro-Islamic government, which has faced severe criticism from the powerful military for allegedly tolerating the activities of radical Islamic circles.
It was the second large demonstration against the government in just two weeks and shows a deepening division between secular and Islamist camps in Turkish society. More than 300,000 secular Turks staged a similar rally in Ankara two weeks ago.
"Turkey is secular and will remain secular," shouted thousands of flag-waving protesters, who traveled to Istanbul from across the country overnight.
The rally was organized more than a week ago but it came a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government rejected a stern warning from the military over the country's disputed presidential election, calling its interference unacceptable in a democracy.
The ruling party candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, failed to win a first-round victory Friday in a parliamentary vote marked by tensions between secularists and the pro-Islamic government. Most opposition legislators boycotted the vote and challenged its validity in the Constitutional Court.
The military said Friday night it was gravely concerned and indicated it was willing to become more openly involved in the process _ a statement some interpreted as an ultimatum to the government to rein in officials who promote Islamic initiatives.


Updated : 2021-04-19 06:12 GMT+08:00