Turkey Crisis Widens Amidst Threats of Military Coup and Currency Collapse

30 de abril de 2007

<body><div id="article"><tr><td height="28" valign="middle" width="184"></td><td valign="middle" width="185"></td></tr><h1>Turkey Crisis Widens Amidst Threats of Military Coup and Currency Collapse</h1><p>April 30 (EIRNS)--In the midst of a major political crisis over Turkey's upcoming presidential elections, a huge secularist demonstration was held in Istanbul on Sunday, April 29 2007. Amidst fears of a military intervention, according to today's Bloomberg.com, Turkish financial markets and the Turkish Lira, fell to a year-low against the dollar this morning.</p><p>The Turkish police report that as many as 700,000 people participated in the demonstration, carrying banners and shouting slogans. Some called for the military to intervene while others were against a military intervention with still others calling for a democratic solution to keep Turkey secular. According to Turkish press reports the demonstrations were organized by secularist organizations out of a concern that the new President of the Turkish Republic, probably coming from the ruling moderate Islamic AKP (Justice and Development Party), would end Ataturk's legacy and introduce Islamic laws. Although the AKP nominated moderate politician and current Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, to calm down possible controversy, nonetheless some media and activists from secularist opposition parties and organizations stressed the fact that Gul´s wife wears a headscarf, which is allegedly an unacceptable practice for the Turkish presidency, seen by many as a pillar institution of the secular Turkish Republic. Nonetheless Gul is a public supporter of Turkish secularism.</p><p>The President will be elected in three voting rounds in the Turkish Parliament. In the first round on April 27, Gul came short of the needed two-thirds majority, while the opposition boycotted the election. The second round of voting is scheduled for May 2 and the third for May 9. In the third round, only a simple majority is needed, therefore Gul is expected to win. Adding fuel to the fire, the Turkish General Staff issued a statement on April 27 in which they "expressed concern" over the whole debate and, between the lines, accused the AKP of undermining secularism. In the aftermath of this statement, read by many as a coded military coup threat, the secularist opposition parties called for new parliamentary elections They also asked the Constitutional Court to declare the first election round null and void, on the grounds that less than two-thirds of MPs attended.</p><p>On 28 April, EU Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn issued a statement warning the Turkish Army to stay away from politics this time.</p></div></body>