President Suleiman Demirel was expected to give his approval to a coalition between the True Path Party (DYP) of Tansu Ciller and the Motherland Party (ANAP) of Mesut Yilmaz as MEED went to press on 6 March.
This follows the signing of a protocol between the two parties, according to which Yilmaz will take the first year of a rotating premiership in the coalition's proposed fiveyear term.
The coalition will end a political vacuum since the December general elections and excludes from power the Islamist Refah Party (RP). Earlier attempts to form the ANAP-DYP coalition had failed, largely due to rivalry between Ciller and Yilmaz. The coalition announced by the two leaders on 28 February followed the failure of talks four days earlier to form a partnership between ANAP and the RP.
Ministerial portfolios in the new cabinet have been balanced evenly between the two parties, with ANAP taking eight and the DYP allocated nine. The two sides will also divide state ministries without portfolio, while the DYP has control of the Treasury and the State Planning Organisation.
The protocol, which has been welcomed by business and industry leaders, pledges to continue free market economic policies and structural reform. However, Ciller and Yilmaz have yet to prove they can bury their differences, observers say. The support of left-wing groupings necessary for an absolute parliamentary majority may also test the new partnership, the sources add.
The coalition's greatest challenge will be to restore stability to the economy, diplomatic sources in Ankara say. An extended IMF programme agreed in July 1994 expired on 7 March. During the political uncertainty and pre-election spending, the IMF withheld the final tranche of a stand-by facility valued at SDR 610 million ($899 million). A renewed IMF programme could now be in place by midyear, setting out quarterly performance targets to stabilise key indicators in the economy, the sources say.