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In a historic moment, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was elected and sworn in as Turkey’s 11th president Tuesday. For the first time, a politician with a background in political Islam has become the guardian of strict separation of religion and state, the highest principle of the Republic of Turkey since its founding in 1923.

The military is the guardian of Turkish secularism, but top generals did not attend Mr. Gul’s inauguration. There is no sign, however, that the military — which has ousted four governments since 1960 under the name of protecting secularism — will step in. Although tension may exist, Mr. Gul’s election by Parliament, following the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) landslide victory in July’s elections, has shown that Turkey’s democratic process is stable and strong enough to reflect the voice of a rising middle class, which wants political and economic stability but does not trust the secular elite.

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