The Turkish government has criticised what has been described as a veiled threat from the army to intervene over the election of a new president. A spokesman for the Islamist-based government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the chief of the army’s General Staff answers to the Prime Minister. He also said Turkey’s problems can only be solved in the framework of the law.
The General Staff, which has stepped in four times in the past 50 years to oust governments, said it viewed the election of a new president by parliament with what it called concern. It also issued a reminder that the military was the ultimate defender of secularism.
The Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gull, a moderate from the ruling AK Party, has failed to win enough support in a first ballot in parliament. The secular nationalist opposition has applied to the constitutional court to have the poll annulled. As pro-secular protests take place, the European Union has warned the Turkish military to stay out of politics.