Parliament voted on 24 April for an investigation into whether former premier Tansu Ciller was involved in alleged irregularities in the award of state electricity contracts. The motion was brought by the Islamist opposition Welfare Party (Refah) seeking to bring down the weak, minority coalition government.

Analysts say it is Ciller’s reputation and political future that are at stake, rather than the immediate future of the coalition of her True Path Party (DYP) and Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz’s Motherland Party (ANAP).

Parliament will also vote on 9 May on a possibly more damaging investigation into her role in irregularities in the privatisation of state shares in car-maker Tofas.

If brought to trial, Ciller could be barred from assuming a rotating premiership on 1 January 1997. Mesut Yilmaz, her former arch-rival, has failed to support her in the controversy, and ANAP members reportedly joined in the 232 votes cast against 179 for the investigation motion in the 550-seat house.

And although former premier Bulent Ecevit said his Democratic Left Party (DSP) would continue te support the government by abstaining, several prominent DSP members also reportedly voted for the probe