Turkey's ruling party announces FM Gul as presidential candidate

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced on Tuesday its decision to nominate Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as its candidate in the forthcoming presidential elections.

"After our research and discussions, our dear Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has been chosen as the candidate to become Turkey's 11th president," AKP's leader, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told his party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara.

Turkey's parliament has set a timetable for voting rounds of the presidential elections, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

The first round of the elections will be held on April 27. The second round will be held on May 2, the third round on May 9 and the final round on May 15, Anatolia reported.

AKP's decision came amid widespread concerns that Erdogan will run for the post.

Turkey's secularists fear that if Erdogan becomes the next president of the secular Muslim country, his ruling Islamic-rooted party will be able to implement an Islamic agenda without opposition.

On April 14, more than 300,000 people demonstrated in Ankara in defense of the country's secular system and against Erdogan's possible run.

Source: Xinhua

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