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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2007, 09:25 GMT 10:25 UK
Excerpts of Turkish army statement
The following are excerpts of a statement by the Turkish military, quoted by the Anatolia news agency, in which it said it would defend the country's secular system.

The statement was in reaction to a disputed vote in the Turkish parliament in which the Islamist-rooted ruling party's candidate narrowly failed to be elected president.

It is observed that some circles who have been carrying out endless efforts to disturb fundamental values of the Republic of Turkey, especially secularism, have escalated their efforts recently.

Those activities include requests for redefinition of fundamental values and attempts to organise alternative celebrations instead of our national festivals symbolizing unity and solidarity of our nation. Those who carry out the mentioned activities which have turned into an open challenge against the state, do not refrain from exploiting holy religious feelings of our people, and they try to hide their real aims under the guise of religion.

An important part of these activities were done with the permission and within the knowledge of administrative authorities, who were supposed to intervene and prevent such incidents, a fact which intensifies the gravity of the issue.

This fundamentalist understanding, which is anti-republic and harbours no aim other than eroding the basic characteristics of the state, finds courage in recent developments and discourses and extends the scope of its activities.

Developments in our region give numerous examples that playing on religion and manipulating the faith into a political discourse can cause disasters. There are accounts in our country and abroad that a political discourse or an ideology can destroy the faith itself and turn it into something else when it is imposed on faith... Doubtlessly, the sole condition for the Republic of Turkey to live in peace and stability as a contemporary democracy is through defending the basic characteristics of our state which are defined in the Constitution.

The problem that emerged in the presidential election process is focused on arguments over secularism. Turkish Armed Forces are concerned about the recent situation. It should not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces are a party in those arguments, and absolute defender of secularism. Also, the Turkish Armed Forces is definitely opposed to those arguments and negative comments. It will display its attitude and action openly and clearly whenever it is necessary.

Those who are opposed to Great Leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's understanding 'How happy is the one who says I am a Turk' are enemies of the Republic of Turkey and will remain so. The Turkish Armed Forces maintain their sound determination to carry out their duties stemming from laws to protect the unchangeable characteristics of the Republic of Turkey. Their loyalty to this determination is absolute.



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