Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has promised to press on with reforms to turn his secular Muslim country into a modern democracy on par with its European neighbours.

Yesterday, Mr Erdogan's governing AK Party secured almost half the vote in the country's general election.

He also vowed to work for national unity and to pursue EU membership.

He called the election early after the secular establishment, including army generals, refused his choice of Abdullah Gul, a devout Muslim and a former foreign minister, for the post of president.

Mr Erdogan told cheering crowds in Ankara he would respect Turkey's secular constitution.