TURKEY: New government programme announced

20 October 1995

Prime Minister Tansu Ciller has announced a programme for her minority government clearly tailored to conditions extracted by small parties in return for their support in the coming parliamentary vote of confidence (see Cover Story). However, the main trades union Turk-Is called on its members, already involved in a crippling public sector strike, to mount a protest demonstration in Ankara on the day of the confidence vote.

Ciller pledged on 10 October that she would not introduce a previously proposed two-tier system for general elections which would discriminate against minority parties. This was a key condition for its support of the ultra-right Nationalist Movement Party and the Democratic Left Party.

The programme also pledged to find solutions to the strike over their 5.4 per cent pay offer by around 330,000 public sector workers. On 10 October, Turk-Is refused the government's latest pay offer, a weighted average increase of 16.43 per cent for 1995.

Overall, the programme pledges that the 51st government of the republic would be one committed to reform, toleration and compromise. Its highlights are:

determination to achieve a customs union with the EU

harmonising relevant laws with a package of constitutional liberalisation measures passed by parliament in July. The programme also pledges legislation to prevent article eight in the anti-terrorism law from being an obstacle to freedom of thought and expression, without prejudicing the country's unity. Both constitutional liberalisation and greater freedom of expression under article eight are key conditions for the European Parliament's assent to the customs union when it votes on the issue in mid-December

continuing the struggle against political violence at home and abroad. Special care will be taken for the population of the east and southeast suffering from violence, particularly economic measures to improve their welfare

maintaining economic stability. Privatisation will continue. Special consumption and other projected taxes will be merged for easier legislation.

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