Monday, May 3, 1999 Published at 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Ecevit asked to form government
Mr Ecevit's party wooed voters to emerge top of the April election
Turkey's outgoing Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, says he has been formally charged with the task of forming a new government following last month's general elections.
Mr Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) emerged strongest in the April poll, winning 22.19% of the votes guaranteeing 136 seats in the 550 seat legislature.
However the DSP leader refused to comment on which possible forms of coalition he will be pursuing, although he did say that it would most probably comprise at least three parties.
"(On Tuesday), I will meet my deputies. Afterwards I will meet the leaders of the other parties," Mr Ecevit said.
Correspondents say the DSP is most likely to seek an alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the centre-right Motherland Party (ANAP).
Conflicts emerged in the new parliament on Sunday, when a newly elected female MP caused uproar by arriving for the swearing-in ceremony wearing an Islamic-style headscarf.
After his meeting with President Demirel, Mr Ecevit said: "When I am putting together a government there will be no deviation from the basic principles of the state, primarily secularism."
The headscarf is an emotive symbol in Turkish political life, seen by secularists as the flag of political Islam threatening to overturn the strictly secular constitution.
Ms Kavakci's Virtue Party lost 33 seats in the election and is not expected to take part in the next cabinet. But it could still emerge as the chief opposition party in parliament, with 111 seats.
Turkey's constitution allows 45 days for the formation of a new government. If the deadline is not met, the president has the authority to form an interim government and declare new elections.