Necmettin Erbakan

Necmettin Erbakan was an Islamist Turkish politician who founded a series of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated political parties in Turkey. The strongest of these parties was the Welfare Party, which operated between 1983 and 1998.Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Welfare Party,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, accessed November 10, 2016, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Welfare-Party;
“World: Analysis: Tukey Bans The Islamists,” BBC News, January 17, 1998, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/48025.stm.
Erbakan served as the Prime Minister of Turkey between 1996 and 1997,Stephen Kinzer, “Necmettin Erbakan, a Turkish Prime Minister, Dies at 84,” New York Times, February 28, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/world/europe/01erbakan.html. when he was forced out of power by the Turkish military. Following his ouster, Erbakan continued to form and rebrand Brotherhood-affiliated political parties in an effort to Islamize Turkish society.Stephen Kinzer, “Necmettin Erbakan, a Turkish Prime Minister, Dies at 84,” New York Times, February 28, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/world/europe/01erbakan.html.

Erbakan entered Turkish politics in 1969. That year, he wrote a manifesto titled “Milli Gorus,” or “National Perspective,” in which he revealed his methodology to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. Later that year, the ideology in his manifesto developed into the Islamist movement Milli Gorus, which reached Europe in the 1970s.David Vielhaber, “The Milli Gorus of Germany,” Hudson Institute, June 13, 2012, http://www.hudson.org/research/9879-the-milli-g-r-s-of-germany-;
David Vielhaber, “The Milli Gorus of Germany,” Hudson Institute, http://www.hudson.org/content/researchattachments/attachment/1268/vielhaber.pdf.

In 1983, Erbakan created the Brotherhood-affiliated Welfare Party after two of his previous political parties were shut down.Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Welfare Party,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, accessed November 10, 2016, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Welfare-Party. Just over a decade later, in 1994, Erbakan led the Welfare Party to victory in local elections across Turkey—including in Istanbul and Ankara.Omer Taspinar, “Turkey: The New Model?” Brookings Institution, April 25, 2012, https://www.brookings.edu/research/turkey-the-new-model/. The Welfare Party’s popularity continued into 1995, when it became the ruling bloc in Parliament with Erbakan as Turkey’s Prime Minister.Omer Taspinar, “Turkey: The New Model?” Brookings Institution, April 25, 2012, https://www.brookings.edu/research/turkey-the-new-model/. Prime Minister Erbakan reportedly expressed a desire to form an “Islamic NATO,” and praised Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.Steven Erlanger, “New Turkish Chief’s Muslim Tour Stirs U.S. Worry,” New York Times, August 10, 1996, http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/10/world/new-turkish-chief-s-muslim-tour-stirs-us-worry.html?pagewanted=all.

In June 1997, the Turkish military ousted Erbakan after growing concerned with his desire to break from the secular status quo.Omer Taspinar, “Turkey: The New Model?” Brookings Institution, April 25, 2012, https://www.brookings.edu/research/turkey-the-new-model/;
“World: Analysis: Tukey Bans The Islamists,” BBC News, January 17, 1998, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/48025.stm.
The courts banned the Welfare Party in January 1998 for violating Turkey’s secular constitution, and further banned Erbakan from politics for five years.“World: Analysis: Tukey Bans The Islamists,” BBC News, January 17, 1998, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/48025.stm. His associates and followers used his policies and ideals to found the Felicity Party, a re-branded Welfare Party, in 2001. Erbakan was elected its leader in 2003, and again in 2010.Thomas Faulkner, “Necmettin Erbakan obituary,” Guardian (London), February 28, 2011, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/feb/28/necmettin-erbakan-obituary;
“Erbakan elected as Saadet’s new leader,” Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), October 17, 2010, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=erbakan-elected-saadet-party8217s-new-leader-2010-10-17;
Selcan Hacaolgu, “Necmettin Erbakan, onetime Turkish prime minister, dies at 85,” Washington Post, March 3, 2011, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/03/AR2011030304804.html.

Erbakan died of heart failure in 2011.Stephen Kinzer, “Necmettin Erbakan, a Turkish Prime Minister, Dies at 84,” New York Times, February 28, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/01/world/europe/01erbakan.html. Prominent extremist figures attended his funeral, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and the Brotherhood’s former spiritual guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef.Svante Cornell and M.K. Kaya, “The Naqshbandi-Khalidi Order and Political Islam in Turkey,” Hudson Institute, September 3, 2015, https://hudson.org/research/11601-the-naqshbandi-khalidi-order-and-political-islam-in-turkey.

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