|Slogan||Justice is our goal|
|Preceded by||National Salvation Party|
|Succeeded by||Virtue Party|
|Ideology||Sunni Islamism, Conservatism|
|Politics of Turkey
The Welfare Party (Turkish: Refah Partisi, RP) was an Islamist political party in Turkey. It was founded by Ali Türkmen, Ahmet Tekdal, and Necmettin Erbakan in Ankara in 1983 as heir to two earlier parties, (National Order Party, MNP) and (National Salvation Party, MSP), which were banned from politics. The RP participated in mayoral elections at that time and won in three cities Konya, Şanlıurfa, and Van. Their vote percentage was approximately 5%.
The Welfare Party participated in the 1991 elections in a triple alliance with the Nationalist Movement Party (MÇP) and the Reformist Democracy Party (IDP). They gained 16.9% of the vote. They won 62 deputies to parliament, but 19 ones of MÇP (with founding Democratic Movement Party in 25 December 1991 and joining the MÇP in 29 December 1991) and 3 ones of IDP left the Welfare Party after it. Their popular vote increased over the years until they became the largest party under Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan in 1996. The coalition government of Erbakan was forced out of power by the Turkish military in 1997, due to being suspected of having an Islamist agenda.
In 1998, the Welfare Party was banned from politics by the Constitutional Court of Turkey for violating the separation of religion and state as mandated by the constitution. The ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 13 February 2003. The ECHR's decision was criticized by Human Rights Watch for lack of consistency, as the ECHR had refused disbanding of other parties on several occasions, but the ECHR defended its decision.
The incumbent Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a former member of the party, but now leads the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The current President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, was the deputy leader of the party up until its dissolution.
- Karadjis, Michael (19 October 1997). "Behind the Turkish Military’s "Soft Coup"". Green Left Weekly 294. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
- "Turkey's Welfare Party is banned". BBC News. 16 January 1998.
- Turkey: Party Case Shows Need for Reform – Ruling Party Narrowly Escapes Court Ban, Human Rights Watch, 31 July 2008
- 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.