Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan calls for ntional unity Monday amid clash over presidency between government and secularists

Foreign minister Abdullah Gul refuses to withdraw his candidacy despite massive opposition including a demonstration of hundreds of thousands in Istanbul Sunday shouting Turkey is secular and will remain secular. The European Union has said the pro-secular army’s threat to intervene in the presidential election could damage the country’s prospects of joining the EU. Monday, the Turkish stock market plunged 8% over the crisis and the lira fell.

Friday, an opposition boycott denied Gul the two-thirds parliamentary majority he needs for election, accusing him of pro-Islamist proclivities. The constitutional court must deliver a verdict ahead of the second round of voting Wednesday.

The army has staged four coups in the past 50 years against Islamist-leading governments in defense of the secularist values established by Kemal Ataturk in modern Turkey. The opposition wants an early election to oust the ruling Justice and Development party


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