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Turkey's president approved the country's first Islamic-led government in 73 years on Friday, giving power to a party at odds with Turkey's Western allies.

President Suleyman Demirel's office said he had approved a coalition government joining the Islamic Welfare Party with the center-right True Path."God bless the new government," Necmettin Erbakan, Welfare's leader and the new prime minister, proclaimed after meeting with the president.

The Welfare Party's triumph marks the first time an Islamic party has led Turkey since 1923, when the country won its independence following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Since then, Turkey has had a determinedly secular government despite its largely Muslim population.

Welfare's place as the coalition's senior partner may harm Turkey's close relations with the West. But the presence of True Path is expected to prevent Welfare from imposing the more extreme tenets of its strongly religious, anti-Western platform.

True Path's pro-Western leader, former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, was named deputy premier and foreign minister of the coalition government. The U.S.-educated Ciller had once promised never to join forces with the Islamic party.

Most of the crucial cabinet posts, including defense, interior, education, health and trade, went to True Path.

Welfare and True Path together control enough seats in Parliament - at least on paper - to win a vote of confidence, crucial to the government's survival. The vote is expected within 10 days.

But some True Path deputies have signaled they might vote against the coalition. Their numbers were not known. Five deputies already resigned in protest over the Welfare alliance, mandated three weeks ago after the previous coalition failed.

Ciller apparently pacified some deputies by offering cabinet posts.

Newspaper reports said Erbakan would hand over power to Ciller after two years. Erbakan said the details of the coalition deal would be made public Saturday.

Welfare won the most seats in December parliamentary elections but fell short of a majority, forcing it to find a coalition partner to govern.

Welfare's power base is among the poor. The party garnered popularity with its strong social services network, grass-roots organization and popular fight against corruption.