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Turkish court vetoes election of Islamic president following protests of Christian murders


ISTANBUL (BP) — Eleven days after three Christians were sadistically murdered in southeastern Turkey, as many as 1 million people flooded the streets of Istanbul April 29 to protest parliament’s election of a Muslim as the country’s president.

The Christians were tortured and murdered April 18 in the offices of a Christian publishing house in Turkey’s Malatya province, according to the Compass Direct news service. The five attackers tied the men up and, over the course of three hours, stabbed and cut them, disemboweled them, and then slit their throats when police arrived at the door. The killers had been talking with their victims about the Christian faith for months, pretending to be seekers.

When the ruling AK Party, which is rooted in Islam, announced plans to nominate Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul for the presidency, hundreds of thousands of protestors poured into the streets of Istanbul, according to news services. Gul refused to withdraw from the election, despite warnings from the army, which has in the past ousted governments that seemed to pose a threat to the country’s secular democracy. Gul was elected, but the court nullified the vote because two-thirds of Turkey’s 550 legislators were not present.