A day before the expected election to the presidency of Abdullah Gul, the head of Turkey’s army issued a strong warning to the Muslim Justice and Development Party(AKP). General Yasar Buyukanet said that secularism was under attack by “centers of evil.” The general made clear: “Our nation has been watching the behavior of those separatists who cannot embrace the unitary nature of Turkey and… try to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish republic.” He added: “The military will just as it has so far, keep its determination to guard social, democratic and secular Turkey.”
If the military means what this statement is saying, there is a clash looming between Gul and military leaders. The question is whether the military will resort to a coup d’etat and take power. If so, it bodes ill for those who believe Erdogan and the AKP were offering Muslim nations a model of how Muslim values could be maintained along with those of secular values and beliefs. Erdogan has been careful to avoid any indication his Muslim based party would impose religious beliefs and practices upon Turkish society. Erdogan knows such action would doom Turkey’s entrance into the European Union.
It is fascinating how those so interested in the Israel-Palestinian conflict are so uninterested in events which have dramatic impact throughout the Muslim world. A military seizure of power will destabilize Turkey and ensure rejection of its application into the European Union. Perhaps, Erdogan and Gul might agree the president of Turkey would no longer have power to appoint the head of the Turkish army. That might pacify Turkish military leaders.