Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Turkey Elects Gul As President Despite Concerns About Preserving Secularism

Turkey's Parliament today elected Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to be the country's next president, according to a report by the AP. Gul's candidacy has been controversial because he is a devout Muslim in a country that was founded on the principle of secularism. (See prior posting.) Gul's wife wears an Islamic-style headscarf, even though Turkish law bans them in government offices and schools. On Monday, just before the election, the Turkish army issued a statement warning against those who would undermine Turkey's democratic and secular status. (Reuters.) Upon assuming office, Gul also defended Turkey's secular tradition, saying: "Secularism -- one of the main principles of our republic -- is a precondition for social peace as much as it is a liberating model for different lifestyles."

UPDATE: Today's Zaman runs the full text of Gul's inaugural speech to Parliament.