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Turkish Lawmaker Calls for Dropping Secularism

FILE - A Turkish flag is seen fluttering behind a barbed wire fence.

The speaker of the Turkish parliament has spoken out in favor of a new constitution based on religious principles, in direct contrast to the secular basis on which modern Turkey was founded.

Ismail Kahraman of the ruling AK party said in a speech late Monday that the text of a new constitution should not contain wording about secularism. He said as a majority Muslim nation, Turkey should not be "in a retreat from religion."

The AK party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been pushing for a new constitution and increased powers for the president, a move that critics say could concentrate too much power in the hands of an authoritarian government.

Turkey's current constitution is inherited from a military government that followed a coup in 1980.