Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests Turkey's Islamist-rooted government has vowed to press on with presidential elections after the top court annulled the first round of voting. This paves the way for early general elections. The opposition, backed by Turkey's powerful military establishment, is trying to block the election of a moderate Islamist as the country's new head of state.
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Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests

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Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests

Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests

Turkey Is the Scene of Violent Rallies, Arrests

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9946775/9946776" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Turkey's Islamist-rooted government has vowed to press on with presidential elections after the top court annulled the first round of voting. This paves the way for early general elections. The opposition, backed by Turkey's powerful military establishment, is trying to block the election of a moderate Islamist as the country's new head of state.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

NPR's Ivan Watson has more from Istanbul.

IVAN WATSON: Gul responded in an appearance on Turkish state television late today. Seated next to a photograph of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic.

ABDULLAH GUL: (Through translator) I have been Turkey's foreign minister for four and a half years. I represent Turkey to the entire world. If I cannot be trusted, there are not many people in Turkey who can be trusted.

WATSON: Gul urged lawmakers to make another attempt to hold the presidential election. If they again fail to reach a quorum, he said, parliament should be dissolved and general election should be held as soon as possible.

MEHMET ALI BIRAND: Don't try to understand logically what's going on in my country. There is no logic.

WATSON: Mehmet Ali Birand is a Turkish TV anchorman and columnist.

ALI BIRAND: There is a power struggle between secular forces and a more religiously conservative forces.

WATSON: Again, journalist Mehmet Ali Birand.

ALI BIRAND: The problem is that we don't have a strong opposition. We don't have a very organized opposition. The opposition is on the street. People on the street is shouting and they're making life miserable to the government party, not just the opposition itself.

WATSON: As the political drama unfolded in Ankara, the Turkish capital, an unrelated crisis ground life to a halt here in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEMONSTRATION)

WATSON: More than 10,000 riot police backed by helicopters clashed with leftist protesters holding an illegal May Day demonstration. Police fired teargas and were seen kicking, and clubbing unarmed demonstrators.

(SOUNDBITE OF DEMONSTRATION)

WATSON: Ivan Watson, NPR News, Istanbul.

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