The election of Abdullah Gul as President of Turkey, in 2007, closed a stormy chapter in the country's politics in the most satisfactory possible way. For the first time since Kemal Ataturk created the secular republic in 1928, Turkey elected a politician from an Islamic background as its head of the state.
A cheery and soft-spoken former banker Gul was elected Turkey's first prime minister representing Justice and Development (AK) party. He, however, stepped down from the his position after a by-election on March 2003. That gave Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the governing Justice and Development Party, back a seat following a constitutional amendment to end the ban and cleared Tayyip's way to become prime minister of Turkey.
Abdullah was born into a humble family in the conservative Anatolian province of Kayseri. He spent a chunk of his career in academia and as an economist at the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Later, he fell under the spell of Necmattin Erbakan, the founder of Turkey's Islamic movement.
However, later on his differences on the questionable grounds that Erbakan, when he was briefly in office, was not steering enough the country towards Sharia rule, Abdullah along with 50 like-minded moderates broke away. They formed AK, as the party - its initial meaning 'white' or 'clean' in Turkish.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan