Necmettin Erbakan

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Prof. Dr.
Necmettin Erbakan
Necmettin-Erbakan.jpg
Prime Minister of Turkey
In office
June 28, 1996 – June 30, 1997
President Süleyman Demirel
Deputy Tansu Çiller
Preceded by Mesut Yılmaz
Succeeded by Mesut Yılmaz
Personal details
Born (1926-10-29)29 October 1926
Sinop, Turkey
Died 27 February 2011(2011-02-27) (aged 84)
Çankaya, Ankara, Turkey
Political party National Order Party (1970–71)
National Salvation Party (1972–1981)
Welfare Party (1987–1998)
Virtue Party (1998–2001)
Felicity Party (2003–2011)
Spouse(s) Nermin Erbakan (m. 1967–2005, her death)
Children Zeynep, Elif, Fatih
Alma mater Istanbul Technical University
University of London
King Saud University
Religion Sunni Islam
Signature

Necmettin Erbakan (29 October 1926 – 27 February 2011) was a Turkish politician, engineer, and academic who was the Prime Minister of Turkey from 1996 to 1997. He was pressured by the military to step down as prime minister and was later banned from politics by the Constitutional Court of Turkey for violating the separation of religion and state as mandated by the constitution,[1][2] a ban that was later upheld by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).[3]

The political ideology and movement founded by Erbakan, Millî Görüş, calls for the strengthening of Islamic values in Turkey and turning away from what Erbakan perceived to be the negative influence of the Western world in favor of closer relations to Muslim countries. Erbakan's political views led to conflict with the core principle of secularism in Turkey, culminating in his removal from office. With the Millî Görüş ideology, Erbakan was the founder and leader of several prominent Islamic political parties in Turkey from the 1960s to the 2010s, namely the National Order Party (MNP), the National Salvation Party (MSP), the Welfare Party (RP), the Virtue Party (FP), and the Felicity Party (SP).

Early life and education[edit]

Erbakan was born in Sinop, at the coast of Black Sea in northern Turkey.[4] His father was Mehmet Sabri, a judge from the prestigious Kozanoğlu clan (Oghuz Turks, Afshar tribe) of Cilicia and his mother Kamer was a native of Sinop and the second wife of Mehmet Sabri.[5]

After the high school education in Istanbul High School, he graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Faculty at the Istanbul Technical University in 1948, and received a PhD degree electrical engineering from the University of London. He later received an MA and second PhD in Islamic Studies from King Saud University.[4] After returning to Turkey, Erbakan became lecturer at the İTÜ and was appointed professor in 1965 at the same university.[4] After working some time in leading position in the industry, he switched over to politics, and was elected deputy of Konya in 1969.[4]

Political activities[edit]

Erbakan's ideology is set forth in a manifesto, entitled Millî Görüş (National View), which he published in 1969.[4] The organisation of the same name, which he founded and of which he was the leader, upholds nowadays that the word "national" is to be understood in the sense of monotheistic ecumenism.[6][7]

One of the leading names in Turkish politics for decades, Erbakan was the leader of a series of Islamic political parties that he founded or inspired. These parties rose to prominence only to be banned by Turkey's secular authorities. In the 1970s, Erbakan was chairman of the National Salvation Party which, at its peak, served in coalition government with the Republican People's Party of Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit during the Cyprus crisis of 1974. So "Mujahideen" (Turkish: "Mücahid") was nicknamed from Turkish people at this after successful operation.[4]

In the wake of the 1980 military coup, Erbakan and his party were banned from politics.[4] He reemerged following a referendum to lift the ban in 1987 and became the leader of Refah Partisi (Welfare Party).[4] His party benefited in the 1990s from the acrimony between the leaders of Turkey's two most prominent conservative parties, Mesut Yılmaz and Tansu Çiller. He led his party to a surprise success in the general elections of 1995.

Premiership[edit]

He became Prime Minister in 1996 in coalition with Çiller's Doğru Yol Partisi (Correct Path Party). As prime minister, he attempted to further Turkey's relations with the Arab nations.[4] In addition to trying to follow an economic welfare program, which was supposedly intended to increase welfare among Turkish citizens, the government tried to implement multi-dimensional political approach to relations with the neighboring countries.

Erbakan's image was damaged by his famous speech making fun of the nightly demonstrations against the Susurluk scandal. He was widely blamed at the time for his indifference. The Turkish military gradually increased the urgency[clarification needed] and frequency of its public warnings to Erbakan's government, eventually prompting Erbakan to step down in 1997[citation needed].

At the time there was a formal deal between Erbakan and Tansu Çiller, the leaders of the coalition, for a "period based premiership"[citation needed]. According to this, Erbakan was to act as the prime minister for a certain period (a fixed amount of time, which was not publicized), then he would step down in favour of Çiller. However, Ciller's party was the third-largest in the parliament, and when Erbakan stepped down, President Süleyman Demirel asked Mesut Yılmaz, leader of the second-largest party, to form a new government instead.

Post-PM[edit]

Erbakan's ruling Welfare Party was subsequently banned by the courts, which held that the party had an agenda to promote Islamic fundamentalism in the state, and Erbakan was barred once again from active politics.[8]

He was tried and sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment in the so-called Lost Trillion Case, which involved the use of forged documents to prevent the return of Treasury grants in amount of around one trillion lira, i.e. one million Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png in today's currency (around € 477,000) following the ban of the party in 1997.[9][10]

Despite often being under political ban, Erbakan nonetheless acted as a mentor and informal advisor to former Refah members who founded the Virtue Party in 1997, among them the current Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Virtue Party was found unconstitutional in 2001 and banned; by that time Erbakan's ban on political activities had ended, and he founded the Felicity Party, of which he was the leader in 2003–2004 and again from 2010[11] until his death.

Death[edit]

Grave of Necmettin Erbakan and his family at Merkezefendi Cemetery in Istanbul

Erbakan died on 27 February 2011 at 11:40 local time of heart failure at Güven Hospital in Çankaya, Ankara.[12]

His body was transferred to Istanbul, and following the religious funeral service at the Fatih Mosque, the attending crowd accompanied his coffin the about 4 km (2.5 mi) way to the Merkezefendi Cemetery, where he was laid to rest beside his wife Nermin. He did not wish a state funeral, however his funeral was attended by highest state and government officials.[13]

Views[edit]

Main article: Millî Görüş

His foreign policy had two main pillars: close cooperation and unity among Muslim countries, and struggle against "Zionism". He created "D-8" or The Developing Eight, to achieve an economic and political unity among Muslim countries. It has eight members, including Turkey, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nigeria.[14][15][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] BBC. Ex-Turkish PM sentenced, March 2000
  2. ^ [2] BBC. Turkey Bans Islamists, January 1998
  3. ^ Moe, Christian (September 2003). "Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey". International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law (International Center for Not-for-Profit Law) 6 (1). ISSN 1556-5157. Retrieved 28 August 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "85 yıllık yaşamından kesitler" (in Turkish). Ntvmsnbc.com. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan'in soyu ve dogumu
  6. ^ Statement of the IGMG (Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş e. V.) to the 2002 report of the German State Office for the Protection of the Constitution of North Rhine-Westphalia (German)
  7. ^ Wer ist Milli Görüs? (Who is Milli Görüs?), German daily Die Tageszeitung, May 7, 2004 (German)
  8. ^ "Turkish party given another week to justify existence". BBC News. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Leaders of now-defunct Welfare Party stand trial for fraud". Hürriyet Daily News. 1999-02-09. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  10. ^ "Former President Gül testifies to prosecutors in ‘lost trillion case’". Today's Zaman. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2014-11-27. 
  11. ^ "84-year-old Erbakan elected Felicity Party leader". Today's Zaman. October 18, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Necmettin Erbakan vefat etti". Ntvmsnbc (in Turkish). Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  13. ^ "Erbakan son yolculuğuna uğurlandı 2011-03-01". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  14. ^ Kemal, Suavi (2005-06-15). "Yeni Bir Dünya D-8". Milli Gazete (in Turkish). Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  15. ^ "Tek yol İSLÂM birliği". Milli Gazete (in Turkish). 2006-05-29. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  16. ^ Treffen der "Muslimischen Vereinigung" in Istanbul (Meeting of the Muslim association in Istanbul), report and German translation by the German Evangelical Alliance's Institute for Islamic Concerns, June 1, 2006

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kemal Satır
Nizamettin Erkmen
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
January 28, 1974 – November 17, 1974
Succeeded by
Zeyyat Baykara
Preceded by
Zeyyat Baykara
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
March 31, 1975 – June 21, 1977
Succeeded by
Turan Güneş
Orhan Eyüboğlu
Preceded by
Turan Güneş
Orhan Eyüboğlu
Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
July 21, 1977 – January 5, 1978
Succeeded by
Orhan Eyüboğlu
Preceded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Prime Minister of Turkey
June 28, 1996 – June 30, 1997
Succeeded by
Mesut Yılmaz
Party political offices
New political party Leader of the National Order Party (MNP)
January 26, 1970 – May 20, 1971
Party banned
Preceded by
Süleyman Arif Emre
Leader of the National Salvation Party (MSP)
October 20, 1973 – September 12, 1980
Party banned
Preceded by
Ahmet Tekdal
Leader of the Welfare Party (RP)
October 11, 1987 – January 16, 1998
Succeeded by
Recai Kutan of the Virtue Party
Preceded by
Recai Kutan
Leader of the Felicity Party (SP)
May 11, 2003 – January 30, 2004
Succeeded by
Recai Kutan
Preceded by
Numan Kurtulmuş
Leader of the Felicity Party (SP)
October 17, 2010 – February 27, 2011
Succeeded by
Mustafa Kamalak
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sırrı Enver Batur
President of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey
May 25, 1969 – August 8, 1969
Succeeded by
Sırrı Enver Batur