Abdullah Gul has been sworn in as Turkey’s president after winning a vote in parliament at the third attempt. In two ballots last week he failed to secure backing from the required two thirds of law-makers. This time round he needed just a simple majority of 276. With his AK Party holding 340 parliamentary seats, he reached this number comfortably.
Opponents fear Gul’s Islamist roots may threaten the traditional separation of religion and politics. But in his swearing-in speech, the former finance minister vowed to be true to the democratic and secular nature of the republic. The Turkish military, which sees itself as the defender of the country’s secularism, has said it will not tolerate religious interference in matters of state.
In April Gul’s opponents blocked his nomination for the presidency. But a landslide victory in early elections in July gave Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the authority to put his man in the post.