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Turkey Warns on 'Fundamentalism'


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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The head of Turkey's staunchly secular military warned Friday that the armed forces would protect the state against ``fundamentalism''— days after a party with Islamic roots swept national elections.

Turkey's military has carried out three coups since 1960 and pressured a pro-Islamic party out of power in 1997. The Justice and Development Party, which won a majority of seats in Sunday's elections, has its origins in Turkey's Islamic movement, but calls itself a secular, democratic party.

``Turkey's armed forces has the will and determination to look out for and protect the republic against all types of threats, especially fundamentalism and separatist activities,'' Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said in a statement.

Friday's statement was issued ahead of the 64th anniversary of the death of Turkey's founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, which is marked on Sunday. The military has made similar statements in the past and it was not immediately clear if it was directed at Justice.

Separatism generally refers to actions by autonomy seeking Kurdish rebels.

Ozkok said earlier this week that ``the election results were the wish of the nation'' and he ``respected them.''

Justice leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly denied that his party seeks an Islamic agenda and has emphasized Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

Erdogan, a former member of a pro-Islamic party closed by the courts, is banned from standing as premier because of a past conviction for inciting religious hatred. The party has not indicated who will be its candidate for premier.

The Justice party won 363 of the 550 seats in parliament and will be able to form a single-party government — the first time that has been possible after 15 years of divided politics here.

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It's kind of comforting to know that there's a balance in that country between secularism and religion in the government. But in the end, it's still bad how it's between the military and the government

All we need is for that place to NOT turn into a breeding/hiding ground for potential terrorists.

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