The minority government of Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel suffered major setback yesterday when parliament expelled Foreign Minister Hayrettin Erkmen in a censure vote, 230-2.A series of censure motions is now expected as the opposition parties join in a drive to unseat Demirel.
The ruling Justice Party did not participate in the vote once it learned that the major opposition party, the Republican People's Party led by Bulent Ecevit, would vote with the militantly Islamic National Salvation Party.
The opposition parties said they were voting against the government as a whole and not just the foreign minister. Erkmen has pursued a strongly pro-Western foreign policy and was accused of harming Turkish interests by trying to bring Turkey into the European Common Market and by continuing diplomatic ties with Israel.
Demirel recently called for early elections for a new head of state, but observers here said the censure vote probably meant his chances of getting parliament to agree to such elections was poor.
Demirel had argued that early elections were Turkey's only chance of forming a strong government capable of dealing with the country's large economic difficulties and the mounting political violence that has claimed 1,606 lives so far this year.