TURKEY: End to government crisis in sight

27 October 1995

An end is in sight for the government crisis following the 17 October decision by President Demirel to approve a revival of the previous coalition. The social democrat Republican Peoples Party (CHP) agreed to revive its partnership with Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's True Path Party (DYP) after she had failed to win a 15 October confidence motion in parliament for a minority administration.

The signs that the political crisis is nearing a settlement have also pointed to an end to the crippling public sector strike that started on the same day as the previous coalition's collapse on 20 September. Paralysing much of the public sector, the strike had closed factories, ports and railways, and threatened sugar shortages with the loss of much of the country's sugar beet crop.

Ciller has suggested that general elections could be held as early as 24 December. However, political analysts say spring would be more feasible as it would allow time for updating voting lists and changes in the election law. Both Demirel and the CHP's leader, Deniz Baykal, want the coalition's main objective to be early elections, not constitutionally due until October 1996.

The revived coalition will probably secure the mandatory, parliamentary vote of confidence, analysts say. But both Ciller and Baykal, face strong dissent within their parties.

The DYP on 16 October moved to expel 10 of its MPs for either siding with the opposition or staying away during the minority government's confidence vote.

The CHP's agreement undermined the public sector strike. Ciller's caretaker minority administration issued in 60-day suspension orders for key sectors. Up to 100,000 employees resumed operations at sugar, paper and chemical plants, ports and railways, and state farms on 18 October. Workers disobeying the suspension orders, or anyone agitating for the same, faced penalties of up to six months in prison.

The coalition could also face action by discontented civil servants, who staged countrywide protests on 17 October over their working conditions. Threatening a general strike by December, the civil servants demand pay increases and the removal of legal obstacles to their participation in trades unions and rights of collective bargaining.

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