Military Warns Islamist Leader

ANKARA (Reuter)Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan Monday brushed off a warning from the secularist military to crack down on Islamist activism.

"In Turkey governmen’s are formed in parliament–not in the National Security Council (NSC). Laws are made in parliament," he told a news conference.

The generals warned Erbakan at the weekend to end a recent surge in religious activism that they fear could pave the way to turn Turkey into an Islamist state.

But Erbakan–Turkey’s first Islamist leader–denied press reports the generals had given him specific instructions to pass anti-Islamist legislation.

"The general assembly makes the laws. The National Security Council cannot–and does not– say `Pass this or that law."’

Newspapers on Monday quoted leading general Erol Ozkasnak as implicitly denying the military was working closely with Erbakanjust one day after the prime minister shrugged off any rift with the secularist army commanders.

"The Turkish armed forces is in harmony with those who believe in the republic… and the implementation of its basic principles. It is not–and cannot be–in harmony with anyone else," the Sabah newspaper quoted Ozkasnak as saying.

Other papers carried the same statemen’s–which Turkish political analysts said were a reference to friction between the military and Erbakan’s Islamists.

Erbakan–Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister–had said Saturday he was "in complete harmony" with the army despite the military warning.

The army briefly sent tanks onto the streets of an Islamist district of Ankara last month after anti-secularist protest there attended by the Iranian ambassador.


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