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Turkey: Prime Minister Declines to Fix Date for Changeover

Istanbul, 16 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Turkish Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan today declined to fix a date to hand over power to his coalition partner, Tansu Ciller, despite her demand that it must happen within two days.

An aide to Ciller had said yesterday that the changeover would take place on Wednesday. Ciller, who now is Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, would take over the office of Prime Minister from Erbakan in a bid to end a political crisis over Erbakan's moves towards Islamic fundamentalism.

In today's developments, an Erbakan aide, State Minister Adbullah Gul, said Erbakan would hand over his post this week, but did not specify which day.

Erbakan's Islamist-led government has been under intense pressure from the military, which sees itself as the guardian of secularism in modern Turkey. Ciller leads a small secular party known as True Path.