Thousands gather for secular rally in Turkey

May 13, 2007 09:48


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Thousands of secular Turks gathered for a rally in Turkey's third largest city on Sunday, keeping up pressure on the Islamic-rooted government that they fear is working to raise the influence of religion on society. Organizers said they expected a huge turnout in Izmir, a port city on the Aegean coast that is a bastion of secularism and where Islamic parties traditionally fare poorly. Police deployed thousands of officers in the city, a day after a bomb at an Izmir market killed one person and injured 14 others. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The rally follows similar demonstrations by hundreds of thousands in Ankara and Istanbul last month. The rallies were staged to pressure Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government against nominating a candidate deemed to be Islamist to the presidency.

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