Foreign Minister Abd Allah Gul said on Tuesday polls would be held if an appeal by the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) against convictions for forging documents is rejected.

If the court upholds an earlier decison to rule the votes invalid, a centre-right grouping would enter parliament and alter the political balance of power.

"If a decision is made that is not in our favour then we will go to early elections. We will return with an even larger majority," Gul told Yeni Safak newspaper.

Economic crisis

The True Path Party (DYP) argues that if DEHAP had not won the votes it could have entered parliement as a rival to the government. 

If the court rules against DEHAP, the election board could award scores of seats to DYP and strip the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the parliamentary majority needed to change the constitution.

AKP, a newly formed group distrusted by Turkey's secular establishment, swept to power in November 2002 elections, pledging jobs and prosperity after a financial crisis battered Turkey's economy.

An early election could threaten economic recovery and implementation of political reforms designed to secure Turkey's accession talks with the European Union.