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Necmettin Erbakan

Necmettin Erbakan
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Necmettin Erbakan.

Necmettin Erbakan

(1926-) Prime minister in Turkey 1996-1997 heading a coalition government of his own, Welfare Party, and the True Path Party.
Erbakan was considered an Islamist politician, but he emerged as a more moderate head of government than his critics had expected. Still, he followed a line of emphasizing Turkey's Muslim identity, putting many efforts into improving relations with other Muslim states. He gained much attention in Western media, when improving relations with Iran and Libya's leader, Mu'ammar Gadhafi, when he still was an outcast in the West.
He also launched reforms to improve the welfare structures of Turkey.
During his term as prime minster, Erbakan reversed his position and came to support Turkey's application for membership in the European Union (EU).
Still, after just 12 months in his position, he was effectively removed by the military, and his party was outlawed by the constitutional court for threatening the secular constitution of Turkey. The actual accusations against Erbakan and the party were more on the level of suspicions of a future politics, more than actual episodes. The military claimed fright of a disintegration of the country by Erbakan's possible Islamization as well as by the prospects of an escalation of the conflict with Kurdish nationalists.
Erbakan was educated in engineering, working as a Out of politics, he was a professor in physics, and had lived in Germany for many years, where he worked as a scientist. In recent years, Erbakan has been sentenced for both provoking hatred, as well as for fraud. His personal possessions are at a level which is hard to explain considering his life income; he allegedly owns 148 kilos of gold, which with 2009 prices is worth close to US$4.5 million.

1926 October 29: Born in Sinop.
1948: Graduates as engineer from Istanbul Technical University (ITU).
1965: Becomes professor at ITU.
1969: Elected deputy of Konya.
1974: Becomes deputy prime minister in coalition government under Bülent Ecevit, heading the National Salvation Party.
1980: A military coup has Erbakan's party banned, and him excluded from politics.
1987: A referendum removes the ban on certain political parties, and Erbakan is one of the founders of the Welfare Party.
1990's: The Welfare Party grows into a strong political party.
1996 June 28: Becomes prime minister.
1997 June 30: Resigns as prime minister.
1998 January: The Welfare Party is outlawed by the high court.
2000 March 10: Sentenced to one year in jail for provoking hatred.
2008 May: Erbakan begins serving house arrest for embezzlement from his former political party.
2008 August 20: Erbakan is pardoned for the remainder of his house arrest sentence, by President Abdullah Gül, otherwise due to be finished in 2010.

By Tore Kjeilen