Turkish gov't slams army in dispute over election

April 29, 2007 05:11

The pro-Islamic government rejected a stern warning from the military over Turkey's disputed presidential election, calling it unacceptable in a democracy. It was a rare retort against a powerful institution that has long guarded Turkey's secular traditions - and has intervened before to force out an Islamic leader. The ruling party candidate failed to win a first-round victory Friday in a parliamentary vote marked by tensions between secularists and the pro-Islamic government. Most opposition legislators boycotted the vote and challenged its validity in the Constitutional Court. The military said it was gravely concerned and indicated it was willing to become more openly involved in the process - a statement some interpreted as an ultimatum to the government to rein in officials who promote Islamic initiatives. "It is unthinkable for an institution like the military ... to make any statement against the government on any issue in a democratic state," Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said Saturday.

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