Prime Minister Tansu Ciller failed to reach an agreement on 27 September with the main opposition conservative Motherland Party (ANAP) for the formation of a new government, following the collapse of the coalition government on 20 September (see 24). Talks between the premier and ANAP’s leader Mesut Yilmaz broke down when Ciller refused his demand for a ministerial portfolio in command of the economy

One of Ciller’s conditions for ANAP’s participation in a new government was that ministerial portfolios should be distributed according to the two parties’ parliamentary representation, the Turkish press reported on 27 September. This would have given Ciller a two-to-one advantage in the cabinet.

Apart from economy, Yilmaz held out for eight cabinet posts, including foreign affairs, finance, justice and public works. At present, Ciller’s True Path Party (DYP) holds 182 seats in the 450-seat house, and ANAP has 96.

Ciller had also stipulated that elections should not be held until next June at the earliest, in order not to disrupt the economic recovery programme and Turkey’s planned entry into an EU customs union in 1996, analysts say. A snap general election would most benefit the Islamist Welfare Party, which is strongly opposed to closer integration with the EU, the analysts note.

The tense political climate was further aggravated by a nation-wide public sector workers’ strike against a 5.4 per cent pay offer from the government. By 27 September basic goods produced by state economic enterprises, particularly sugar, were in short supply.