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Turkish stock market ends lower ahead of court ruling annulling election

Turkish stock market ends lower ahead of court ruling annulling election

The Turkish stock market continued its slide Tuesday, dropping 3.2 percent ahead of a decision by the nation's highest court to cancel last week's disputed presidential vote.
The benchmark index, the IMKB-100, fell 3.2 percent to close at 43,529.49 points, before the Constitutional Court's decision opened the way for possible early general elections. The index had sunk 6.3 percent on Monday as the government came under pressure to declare early general elections.
"Turkey is a poorer country compared to Friday," State Minister Ali Babacan, who is in charge of the economy, told private NTV television.
Turkey's currency, the lira, slid against foreign currencies and stood at 1.37 against the U.S. dollar, compared to Friday's close of 1.33.
The court's decision was crucial for the future of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government, which is at odds with the country's secular establishment over fears it might be trying raise the influence of Islam in public life.
The government said it was considering holding general elections "as soon as possible" _ something analysts said could ease the buildup of political tensions and market worries.
"Early general elections seems to be only way out of this business," said Saruhan Dogan, a market analyst with Finansbank. "The ruling party has become a party which is straining social balances."
Erdogan's government faced a stern warning from the powerful military, which accused the government of tolerating or encouraging radical Islam.
At least 700,000 protesters marched in Istanbul on Sunday to demand the resignation of the government. The country's influential association of Turkish industrialists and businessmen, TUSIAD, urged the government to declare immediate early general elections.
The decision represents a setback for the government, which had hoped to strengthen its authority with the election of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to the presidency.
Gul failed to win a first-round victory Friday in a parliamentary presidential vote marked by tension between secularists and the pro-Islamic government.
Some secularists object to his candidacy because his wife covers her head with a head scarf and is therefore seen as potentially allowing more Islamic influence on the state.
Erdogan appealed for stability on Monday and drew attention to his strong economic record in a national address.