At least a million demonstrators in the Turkish port of Izmir have sent a clear message to their government that they do not want Turkey to become a fundamentalist Islamic state.
Ninety-nine per cent of the Turkish population is Muslim, and members of the present government have Islamist roots.
But the constitution, founded by Turkish hero Mustafa Ataturk, demands a separation of state and religion, and it is this the demonstrators want to protect.
The Prime Minister’s wish to run for president provoked the first protests. He stepped aside in favour of his Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul. But the protests just got louder, and bigger. This is the fourth in a month.
The ruling AK party insists it is committed to secular rule and has no hidden agenda but it’s so far failed to convince the public.
It’s now been forced to call an early general election and is making moves to put the presidential selection to a public vote too.