Process for electing Turkish presidential candidate begins Tuesday amid pressure on Turkish PM Recep Erdogan to abandon his claim

Some 500,000 people from across Turkey gathered in a secularist rally in Ankara Saturday, April 14, against Erdogan seeking the top post. They marched on the mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founder as a secular state, chanting anti-Islamic slogans. The prime minister’s opponents accuse him of having an Islamic agenda – which he denies.
His Justice and Development party has a parliamentary majority and his nomination Tuesday would have the votes for his replacement of Ahmet Necdet Sezer, whose presidency ends in May.
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Buyukanıt said Thursday the armed forces would like to see a president committed to unchangeable principles such as “the integrity and the secular character of the state, not in words but in essence.” But the final decision rests with Parliament, he added.

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