An Editorial from The Independent: A president at the junction of secularism and Islam

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The election of Abdullah Gul as President of Turkey closes a stormy chapter in Turkish politics in the most satisfactory possible way. An accomplished diplomat who as foreign minister negotiated the terms of Turkey's accession into the European Union, Mr Gul was by far the strongest candidate. He won the parliamentary vote by a convincing majority in the third and final round.

That Mr Gul faced obstacles to his election, and nonetheless prevailed, testifies not only to the strength of his determination, but to the robustness of Turkey's institutions. In April, at the first time of asking, Mr Gul was blocked by the secular opposition parties which saw his Islamic background as a threat to the state. The stalemate, which was reinforced by street demonstrations, was broken by the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called an early general election. His Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has Islamic roots, won a new mandate with an increased majority. Mr Gul renewed his candidacy, and has now won.

This was a textbook example of how Turkey's political system is supposed to function – through democratic elections and parliamentary votes. Yet there were fears, inside and outside the country, that it might not prove equal to the task.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, Politics* International News & CommentaryAsia

Posted August 29, 2007 at 6:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Wilfred wrote:

I hope we can send an ambassador who will not ruffle the feathers of Gul or Turkey.

August 29, 9:15 pm | [comment link]
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