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.