Parliament rejected by 275 votes to 256 on 16 October a bid by the opposition to force a confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan. The bid came in response to Erbakan’s recent visit to Libya.

A visiting IMF team started two weeks of talks on 15 October on renewed financial assistance. The mission may lead to an agreement on a new standby facility, following the lapsing of the previous facility in late 1995, according to the local press. However, the January-August consolidated budget deficit has soared to TL 660 million million ($7,000 million), largely due to heavy domestic debt servicing. A 1997 budget being hurriedly drafted by the coalition aims at an overall balance, but this may be difficult to achieve.

A venture of France’s Lyonnaise des Eaux and the local Enka was expected to receive a letter of intent by 18 October for a 10-year operation and maintenance contract for a water and sewerage programme in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, according to industry sources in Istanbul (MEED 30:8:96). The client is the Antalya Water & Sewerage Authority (ASAT).

Nine bids for feasibility studies on setting up underground gas storage in the northern Marmara sea area were returned to the state Turkish Petroleum Corporation on 11 October. Bidders include: Lurgi and PLE-Pipeline Engineering, both of Germany; France’s Sofregaz and BEICIP Franlab, Japan Oil Engineering Company; and ABB Lummus Global and Schlumberger Geoquest, both of the US. The cost of the storage project is estimated at about $550 million. In a separate but related development, bids for engineering studies on the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import and conversion terminals at Aliaga near Izmir and Iskenderun in the eastern Mediterranean have been invited by state pipeline and gas agency Botas, with a closing date of 30 October (see Tenders).