He said: "It is unthinkable for an institution like the military, which is attached to the prime minister, to make any statement against the government on any issue.
|Opposition parties boycotted Friday's vote to select a new president [Reuters]|
"According to our constitution, the military chief of staff is responsible to the prime minister."
Opposition members have appealed against Friday's presidential election in the constitutional court on the grounds that there were not enough legislators present for a quorum and have called for early elections as the only way out of the impasse.
Cicek said the military statement, which was issued after the opposition's appeal, appeared to be an attempt to influence the court.
In an apparent attempt to reduce tensions, he added that Erdogan had a "useful and fruitful" telephone conversation with General Yasar Buyukanit, the chief of military staff, but declined to give details.
The military, which has declared itself the guardians of Turkey's secular traditions, remains one of the country's most trusted institutions.
The European Union is pressuring Turkey to curb the influence of the military as part of its membership bid and, on Saturday, said the election of a new president was a "test case" for the Turkish military's respect for democracy.
"This is a clear test case whether the Turkish armed forces respect democratic secularisation and democratic values," said Olli Rehn, the EU expansion affairs commissioner.
|At a speech in Ankara on Saturday, Erdogan|
obliquely told the military to lay off [Reuters]
The president can veto legislation, and the prospect of electing a leading member of the Islamic-oriented government has unnerved Turkey's secular establishment.
Ahmet Necdet Sezer, the current president who steps down on May 16, vigorously used his powers as a check on the government, vetoing a record number of legislative bills and appointments of officials.
Hundreds of thousands of people recently demonstrated for secular ideals in the capital, Ankara, and another large rally was planned in Istanbul on Sunday.
Opposition parties have accused the government of raising tensions by insisting on a candidate with an Islamist past and resisting calls for a president acceptable to all.
If the constitutional court rules in favour of the ruling party, Gul is likely to win in the third round when only a simple majority is required.
He has promised to uphold the country's secular traditions amid concerns that his victory will strengthen the role of Islam in politics.
The ruling party has supported religious schools and tried to lift the ban on Muslim headscarves in public offices.
|Gul won AKP legislators' backing in the election|
on Friday but failed to win enough votes [AFP]
Secularists are also uncomfortable with the idea of Gul's wife, Hayrunisa, being in the presidential palace because she wears the traditional Muslim head scarf.
Both Gul and Erdogan, however, reject the Islamist label.
The Turkish military has staged several coups in past decades, and in 1997 led a campaign that pressured an Islamic party - of which Erdogan and Gul were both members - out of government.
At the time, the military issued warnings to the government to curb religious initiatives, while secularists took to the streets in protest against the government's policies.