Abdullah Gul Becomes President of Turkey

For the first time in modern Turkish history, a religious conservative became president of the nation. His election also signifies that conservative Muslims now control Parliament, the prime minister position and the presidency. Gul formerly was a member of the conservative party of Necnettin Erkbakan whose government was overthrown by the military. After that incident, Gul formed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and has watched it gain complete control of the Turkish government.

Gul is a complex man. His wife wears the traditional conservative headscarf and he espouses conservative ideas. He refused to accept Prime Minister Erdogan’s compromise solution of having someone else become president. Although conservative and stubborn, he still seeks Turkish entry into the European Union. Gul understands imposing strict Muslim values upon Turkey dooms entry into the EU as well as threatens an Army seizure of power. The next challenge he faces is the appointment of head of the Turkish army which lies within the power of the president. If he selects someone who is known as a conservative Muslim it most probably will lead to the army seizing power.