Foreign Affairs Minister Mumtaz Soysal resigned on 28 November dealing another blow to the weak coalition government. Differences with Prime Minister Tansu Ciller over the appointment of a new undersecretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry triggered the resignation, say observers.

Soysal had been opposed to Ciller’s choice of her former foreign affairs adviser, Volkan Vural. The foreign affairs minister generally had diverged from Ciller over foreign policy. He argued that Turkey should push harder for its own diplomatic and economic interests within the Western camp.

Soysal has also been at odds with the leadership of his own party, the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and has been a trenchant critic of privatisation.

His controversial appointment in the summer was viewed as an attempt by the coalition leadership to muzzle him on privatisation (MEED 12:8:94). An able constitutional lawyer as well as MP for Ankara, Soysal had led cross-party resistance which twice secured cancellation by the constitutional court of decree laws for privatisation.