updated 5/12/2007 12:33:58 PM ET 2007-05-12T16:33:58

A homemade bomb left on a bicycle exploded at a market in the Turkish port city of Izmir on Saturday, killing one person and injuring 14 others, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

The blast occurred a day before a planned march in Izmir that was expected to draw hundreds of thousands of secular Turks to demonstrate against the Islamic-rooted government’s attempts to raise the profile of Islam in the country.

Governor Cahit Kirac appealed for calm. Izmir’s mayor, Aziz Kocaoglu, said he did not think there was any connection between the attack and the planned demonstration.

The blast occurred at a market in the Bornova district of Izmir, on the Aegean Sea, in the morning as vendors were setting up their stalls. One person who was seriously injured died at a hospital later, Anatolia said.

The blast shattered the windows of several houses and windshields of cars.

Police searched for a suspect who allegedly left the bicycle at the scene. Witnesses reported seeing a blue nylon bag on the bicycle, Anatolia said.

There was no indication of who might be behind the attack. Kurdish, leftist and radical Islamic groups have carried out bombings in Turkey in the past.

Political tensions are high in the country after secular lawmakers blocked the election of a president from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party, out of fear the nation’s secularism would be undermined.

Erdogan’s government announced early general elections for July. Parliament on Thursday amended the constitution to allow the Turkish people—rather than legislators—to elect the president. However, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer could veto the measure or call for a referendum on it.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose bid for the presidency was blocked in the standoff over religion in politics, hinted Friday that he might revive his candidacy in any direct election by voters. Doing so would likely trigger further tensions over the presidency.

The powerful military, which has ousted four governments since 1960, has strongly warned the government against radical Islamic activities in the country and said it remains the “absolute defender” of the secular system.

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