Million Turks Rally for Secularism

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2007 6:35 AM CDT
'   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Secular Turks staged an enormous rally yesterday amid a constitutional crisis over the election of the next president, the BBC reports. As many as a million protesters turned out in Istanbul to oppose ruling-party candidate Abdullah Gul, who they're afraid is orchestrating an Islamic coup in the country even as it seeks E.U. membership and modernization.

They challenged a parliamentary vote, boycotted by opposition MPs, that would give the ruling party a lock on power. Gull tried to allay fears. "The president must be loyal to secular principles. If I am elected, I will act accordingly," he said.  The army  accused the government of supporting radical Islam and vowed to defend secularism.