Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will today make a fresh attempt to become the country’s president. He is backed by the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party, which was strengthened by a convincing win in July’s general election. In today’s first parliamentary ballot, Gul is unlikely to muster the required two thirds of votes. But it is thought he will win in a third round of voting on August 28 when he needs only a simple majority.
A pious Muslim like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gul’s previous presidential bid was scuppered by an opposition boycott.This time, the main opposition party has said it will again be absent. Another big opposition group will take part, although it is fielding its own candidate. In all, three hopefuls are vying for the job.
Gul’s earlier bid was strongly opposed by defenders of Turkey’s secular tradition. He firmly denies claims he wants to break down the division between state and religion.