In Turkey, the Constitutional Court is due to begin examining the validity of the first round of the country’s Presidential election. Opposition parties, fearing that the boundary between religion and state would be blurred by the appointment of Muslim Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, have asked that the vote be declared void.
Gul and his ruling AK party have always denied any Islamist agenda. But if proof were needed of the importance of Turkey’s secular state to its people, then demonstrations at the weekend provided it. Up to a million people came onto the streets to demand that Gul withdraw from the race.
The country’s top business association has backed a call for snap elections, which many analysts say could defuse the crisis. Despite the protests and a threat from the powerful army to intervene, Gul, the architect of Turkey’s EU membership drive, has said there can be no question of his candidacy being withdrawn.
The court says it will try to deliver its verdict by Wednesday – the day a second round of voting is due.