But the Army is warning that it will not allow secularism to die quietly. “Gul set for Turkish president,” from AFP (thanks to JE):
Abdullah Gul is set to become Turkey’s first Islamist head of state as he is expected to become the president of the secular republic today.
Foreign Minister Gul, 56, is all but certain to secure victory in Tuesday’s third round of voting in which the winner needs a simple majority of 276 votes in the 550-member parliament.
The ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) is expected to easily overcome that barrier with its 340 seats, after falling short of the two-thirds majority required to elect the president in the first two rounds of voting last week.
Mr Gul’s election will be a major victory for the Islamist-rooted AKP and is expected top end months of political tension with secularist forces, which blocked the minister’s first bid for the presidency in April on grounds of his Islamist roots.
Opponents charge that the AKP, the moderate off-shoot of a banned Islamist party, has a secret agenda to replace Turkey’s secular order with an Iranian-style regime and will have a free hand to implement its plan with Mr Gul at the presidency.
Hardline secularists are also irritated by the fact that Mr Gul’s wife wears the Islamic headscarf, which they see as a symbol of defiance of the secular system.
‘Threat to secular structure’
The head of the Turkish army, which played a major role in blocking Mr Gul’s first run for the presidency, on Monday warned of “centres of evil” seeking to undermine the country’s constitutional regime.
“Our nation has been watching the behaviour… centres of evil who are trying to systematically erode the country’s secular structure,” Yasar Buyukanit said in a written message Monday, which made no mention of Tuesday’s parliamentary vote.
The army will not “be deterred by such attacks,” he said.
“The Turkish Armed Forces will not make any concessions … in its duty of guarding the Turkish Republic, a secular and social state based on the rule of law,” Mr Buyukanit added.