After months of legal and public wrangling, Abdullah Gul, a devout Muslim and former member of an Islamist political party, has been appointed president of Turkey.
In late August, the Turkish Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of Gul, who served as foreign minister and is a close ally of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both men are members of the Justice and Development Party, which was formed after breaking with the conservative Islamic party.
Earlier this year, Erdogan promoted Gul’s presidential candidacy but faced opposition from the military, which has staunchly defended secular government and ousted four elected parties from power. A national election in July expanded the power of Erdogan’s party, which led to the ascendancy of Gul.
Gul, who has power to fill thousands of government positions, including the judiciary, has tried to assuage fears that he will work to erode secular values in Turkey.
“Secularism, one of the basic principles of our republic, is a rule of social peace,” Gul said in his acceptance speech before Parliament. “My door will be open to everyone.”