Sunday, April 29, 2007

Turks Protest
Islamic-Rooted
Government


Good news from Turkey, where a crowd 300,000 strong marched in the street protesting the Islamic-rooted government:


ISTANBUL, Turkey - At least 300,000 Turks waving the red national flag flooded central Istanbul on Sunday to demand the resignation of the government, saying the Islamic roots of Turkey's leaders threatened to destroy the country's modern foundations.

Like the protesters — who gathered for the second large anti-government demonstration in two weeks — Turkey's powerful secular military has accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of tolerating radical Islamic circles.

"They want to drag Turkey to the dark ages," said 63-year-old Ahmet Yurdakul, a retired government employee who attended the protest.

More than 300,000 people took part in a similar rally in Ankara two weeks ago.

Sunday's demonstration was organized more than a week ago, but it came a day after Erdogan's government rejected the military's warning about the disputed presidential election and called it interference that is unacceptable in a democracy.

The ruling party candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, failed to win a first-round victory Friday in a parliamentary presidential vote marked by tensions between secularists and the pro-Islamic government. Most opposition legislators boycotted the vote and challenged its validity in the Constitutional Court.
The military said Friday night that it was gravely concerned and indicated it was willing to become more openly involved in the process — a statement some interpreted as an ultimatum to the government to rein in officials who promote Islamic initiatives.

Sunday's crowd chanted that the presidential palace was "closed to imams."


Let's hope this is the start of something new in the Middle East.