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Turkish Foreign Minister Resigns Amid Deepening Political Crisis - 2002-07-11

Turkey's popular Foreign Minister Ismail Cem has resigned, delivering a crippling blow to the weakening coalition government of Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.

The semi-official Anatolia news agency said Mr. Cem turned in his resignation Thursday. He is the seventh cabinet member to resign from Mr. Ecevit's three-party coalition government this week. More than 35 lawmakers also have resigned.

Turkey's government has largely been paralyzed since the 77-year-old Mr. Ecevit's health declined in May and left him unable to perform his public duties.

Members of his cabinet began resigning on Monday after the prime minister refused to call early elections.