Turkey's former foreign minister Ismail Cem said Saturday that he had already begun planning his new party's rise to power in future elections, just days after his resignation rocked the administration of ailing Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
"Our first ambition is that our party will rise to power in the next elections," the Anatolia news agency quoted Cem as saying, according to AFP.
"We've started to prepare ourselves for the elections, but I don't think they'll take place in less than two months time," he added. A day after resigning from his position, Cem announced the formation of a euro-centric "renewal party" that includes Ecevit's former deputy, Husamettin Ozkan and Economy Minister Kemal Dervis.
The charismatic Cem, aged 62, held the post of foreign minister for a period of five years, including three-and-a-half years under Ecevit's leadership. "Europe will be taking (an) important decision in December, but in Turkey things are blocked up," Cem said. "In any case, it's certain that we represent the best support for European ideas, regarding the new government or any other government."
Ecevit, who has been off work due to illness for the past two months, has rejected continuous calls for him to quit and call early elections, despite Cem's challenge and mass defections from his party.
Ankara's fragile economy has been further shaken by the political crisis, however Ecevit has said he opposes calling early elections at a time when the country is at a deadlock over key reforms required under Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP), which had 128 deputies on Monday, is now only the third largest bloc in parliament with 82, after the resignations of 46 deputies - including seven ministers - in the past five days. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )