There is high tension in Turkey today amid fears that May 1 rallies could turn violent. With the country plunged into crisis over its presidential election, Istanbul’s governor has warned that demonstrators could clash with police. Feelings are running high as the Constitutional Court prepares to rule in a row between secularists and Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government.
In a bid to ease the stand-off, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appealed for national unity yesterday in a televised address. His ruling AK Party has proposed Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as Turkey’s next president. It is a choice that was opposed by up to a million people at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday.
Secularists suspect Erdogan and Gul of wanting to subvert Turkey’s strict separation of state and religion. The AK Party denies any Islamist agenda.