Turkish gov't slams military in election dispute

Turkey's Islamic-rooted government criticized the powerful military on Saturday, saying a statement by the armed forces that expressed concern over disputed presidential elections was not acceptable in a democracy. The military, part of the pro-secular establishment, said late Friday that it was monitoring the elections and indicated it was willing to become more openly involved in the process, a statement that startled many analysts who described it as an ultimatum to the government to rein in officials who promote Islamic initiatives. "It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces is one of the sides in this debate and the absolute defender of secularism," the military statement said. "When necessary, they will display their attitudes and actions very clearly. No one should doubt that." Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, the government spokesman, said the military warning to the government was "not acceptable in a democratic order."