Prime Minister Warns of Crisis
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he fears for Turkey’s stability after his government suffered a stinging defeat in parliament. Ecevit’s left-right coalition failed Wednesday to gain the support necessary for a constitutional amendment to allow President Suleyman Demirel to serve a second term. The prime minister sees retaining Demirel as crucial for the survival of his coalition and for the success of the government’s anti-inflationary program, which is backed by the International Monetary Fund. Observers said that although Demirel’s future appears in doubt, Ecevit would be unlikely to create a real crisis by resigning. But the setback could force him into bargaining with opposition Islamists, a move that could anger the powerful army. Turkey’s stock market plunged more than 7% on the news.