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Reuters: Thousands of Turks march in anti-government protest - by Mert Ozkan


Reuters - Thousands of Turks march in anti-government protest- by Mert Ozkan

About 20,000 people waving red-and-white Turkish flags and carrying banners reading "Secular Turkey will stay secular" walked from the central square of Tandogan to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish Republic. They called on Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to resign for what they say are violations of the country's secular principles.The Ankara march was organized by the secularist Ataturk Thought Association, which has been implicated in the Ergenekon investigation. The indictment in the Ergenekon case says a series of protests organized by the association in 2007 were part of an illegal attempt to topple the government.

Millions of people staged rallies in 2007 to protest the government's choice of Islamist Abdullah Gul as president. Erdogan then called early elections after the secularist military also expressed reservations about Gul's candidacy. The AK Party went on to win the July 2007 election by the biggest margin in four decades, and the new parliament elected Gul president the following month. The next general election in Turkey is slated for 2011.

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