Turkish Prime Minister appeals for reform

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The Independent Online
ISTANBUL - Turkey's Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller, launched an unprecedented live television appeal yesterday for the people to support her programme of radical and probably painful reform, Hugh Pope writes. 'These are problems that have built up for years. To delay solutions will be to delay our future,' she said in a strong 24-minute televised speech in the style of the late President Turgut Ozal. It is expected to increase her popularity as she struggles to control a troubled country. Mrs Ciller had some dire warnings. The budget deficit, she said, might overshoot its target by three times, putting more pressure on Turkey's 70 per cent inflation. She could not pay for wage rises for the 1.5 million civil servants, and promised to implement a radical privatisation programme. Mrs Ciller criticised the separatist Kurdish insurgency, warning that Turkey would never be split. But she vowed to treat the 'silent majority' with 'a mother's love'. And on Thursday she takes her cabinet to the remotest Kurdish province of Hakkari to announce a package of measures that may prove her good will.

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