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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rival Rejects Ciller's Offer for Coalition

ANKARA -- Turkey's conservative parties failed in their longstanding bid to form a coalition Friday after caretaker premier Tansu Ciller's latest alliance offer was rejected outright by long-time rival Mesut Yilmaz.


"He told me he rejected my proposals, without needing to take them to his party executives," Ciller told reporters after meeting Yilmaz.


"I took all possible government models to Mesut Yilmaz. He rejected them ... There is nothing more he can do," said Ciller, asked if she would consider any offers from Yilmaz.


She said she had proposed to Yilmaz, who had strongly opposed her premiership, that they share powers of leadership in a coalition or form consecutive minority governments.


Yilmaz on Saturday rejected her offer of rotating the premiership, with Ciller taking first go.


"We see that Ciller has not been able to overcome her obsession with remaining prime minister," Yilmaz, whose bitter personal rivalry with Ciller has blocked an alliance of their parties in the past, told reporters.


Yilmaz, next in line to be given the mandate to form a government after Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan and Ciller, demanded that Ciller return the mandate immediately. Ciller said she would await talks with party executives Saturday.


Turkey has been virtually rudderless since Ciller's right-left coalition collapsed on Sept. 20 and led to inconclusive early general polls in December, in which the Islamists came first but failed to find coalition partners.


The failure of the conservative alliance means that the gap is unlikely to be filled soon.


Ciller has presided as caretaker as Turkey faced a series of troubles -- the latest a stand-off with old foe Greece over a lonely pile of rocks in the Aegean off Turkey's southwestern coast.


Both countries withdrew their forces from the area Wednesday, and Ciller claimed victory. Some analysts say she would like to capitalize on her tough-talking stance -- both during the Greek standoff and the bloodless end to a ship hijacking last month by pro-Chechen gunmen -- by holding a fresh election.