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Huge pro secularism rally in Turkey

Source: BRT  
14 April 2007

In a massive demonstration in support of secularism in Turkey hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in a rally at Ankara.

It was organised by a group opposed to the nomination of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for president. His AK party has its roots in Islam and many in the country worry its official secular status would be undermined if he were to become head of state.

Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership, is predominantly Muslim but state and religion are strictly separated.

Tens of thousands of people were bussed into the capital from across the nation to attend what was one of the biggest gatherings in Turkey in recent years.

Security was stepped up with some 10,000 police on duty, but there were no reports of any trouble.

Many of the speeches attacked the US and the EU, calling on Turks to defend their country echoing a rise in nationalism over the past year.

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