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Turkey's Ruling Party Takes Swipe at Military


Turkey's ruling Islamist-rooted party says its victory in parliamentary elections Sunday is a message to the secularist military to stay out of politics.

A government spokesman, Mehmet Ali Sahin, told reporters in Ankara Tuesday that politics should be left to the politicians.

In April, Turkey's military vowed to defend secularism.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected charges that his Justice and Development party has a hidden agenda to undermine Turkish secularism.

The ruling party won nearly 47 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections, and is projected to have about 340 of the parliament's 550 seats.

The main secular opposition Republican People's Party is projected to win about 112 seats. Despite the results, main opposition leader Deniz Baykal rejected suggestions that he step down as party leader.

U.S. President George Bush called Prime Minister Erdogan Tuesday to congratulate him on his party's win. A White House spokesman said Mr. Bush reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to strong ties with Turkey.

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