Welfare Party

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 (MHP) and the Reformist Democracy Party (IDP). They gained 16.9% of the vote. They won 62 deputies to parliament, but 19 deputies of MHP (with founding Democratic Movement Party in 25 December 1991 and joining the MÇP in 29 December 1991) and 3 of IDP left the Welfare Party after the election. 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.[1]

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.[2] The ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 13 February 2003. The ECtHR's decision was criticized by Human Rights Watch for lack of consistency, as the ECtHR had refused disbanding of other parties on several occasions, but the ECtHR defended its decision.[3][4]

The incumbent president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was a former member of the party. After being banned from politics for a period, he left this Islamist group and founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Abdullah Gül, the former President of Turkey, was the deputy leader of the Welfare Party until its dissolution.

Welfare Party

Refah Partisi
LeaderNecmettin Erbakan
FounderAhmet Tekdal
Founded19 July 1983
Dissolved16 January 1998
Preceded byNational Salvation Party
Succeeded byVirtue Party
HeadquartersAnkara, Turkey
IdeologyMillî Görüş
Religious conservatism
Anti-Western sentiment
Hard Euroscepticism
Political positionFar-right
ReligionSunni Islam
SloganJustice is our goal
A clock displaying the emblem of the Welfare Party. The party slogan translates as "Justice is our goal."

Lost Trillion Case

After the closure of the party, the Treasury demanded the return of grants worth around one trillion lira, i.e. one million Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png in today's currency (around € 477,000). Party officials stated that the funds were spent on party activities. However, an investigation revealed that the official documents were forged.[5][6][7]

In the beginning of 1999, Necmettin Erbakan and 78 party officials stood trial in Ankara for embezzlement charges. The case became known as the "Lost Trillion Case" or the "Missing Trillion Case" (Turkish: Kayıp Trilyon Davası).[5][6][7] In March 2002, the court sentenced Erbakan to two years and four months in prison. 68 party officials received sentences of up to one year and two months in prison. The sentences were approved by the Supreme Court of Appeals.[8][9] The European Court of Human Rights upheld the ban as well.[10]

Election Results

Grand National Assembly

Election date Party leader Votes % of Votes Seats Government
1987 Necmettin Erbakan 1,717,425 7.20%
0 / 450
1991 Necmettin Erbakan 4,121,355 16.87%
62 / 450
DYP minority
1995 Necmettin Erbakan 6,012,450 21.38%
158 / 550
DSP minority


  1. ^ Karadjis, Michael (19 October 1997). "Behind the Turkish Military's "Soft Coup"". Green Left Weekly. 294. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  2. ^ "Turkey's Welfare Party is banned". BBC News. 16 January 1998.
  3. ^ Turkey: Party Case Shows Need for Reform – Ruling Party Narrowly Escapes Court Ban, Human Rights Watch, 31 July 2008
  4. ^ 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. Archived from the original on 25 September 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  5. ^ a b "Leaders of now-defunct Welfare Party stand trial for fraud". Hürriyet Daily News. 1999-02-09. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  6. ^ a b "Abdullah Gül, Erbakan'ı affetti". Radikal (in Turkish). 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  7. ^ a b "Former President Gül testifies in 'lost trillion case'". Hürriyet Daily News. 2014-11-19. Retrieved 2014-11-28.
  8. ^ Korkut, Tolga (2009-05-20). "Ankara Court Rules that President Gül May Be Tried". Bianet Bağımsız İletişim Ağı. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  9. ^ "Turkish supreme court ratifies imprisonment term for former PM". Kuwait News Agency. 2003-12-02. Retrieved 2014-11-27.
  10. ^ Childs, Martin (2011-03-04). "Necmettin Erbakan: Politician who served as Turkey's first Islamist prime minister". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-11-27.

External links

1991 Turkish general election

General elections were held in Turkey on 20 October 1991, to elect members to the 19th Grand National Assembly. It was the first by the ruling Motherland Party to be contested without its founding leader, Turgut Özal, who had become Turkish president two years previously. The result was a swing against Özal's former party in favour of its fierce centre-right rival, the True Path Party led by Süleyman Demirel. The vote saw two additional parties cross the 10 percent barrier to enter parliament. Necmettin Erbakan and his Welfare Party saw a party of religious background returned for the first time in 14 years. Welfare had a greatly increased share of the vote and took several key provinces, including Istanbul in 1994 local elections. Bülent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party also scraped through to win seven seats. Voter turnout was 83.9%.

1994 Turkish local elections

Turkey held local elections on 27 March 1994.

1995 Turkish general election

Turkey's 13th general election was held on Sunday December 24, 1995, triggered by the newly re-established Republican People's Party's (CHP) withdrawal from a coalition with the True Path Party (DYP). The coalition had been in government for four years, having been formed by the Social Democratic Populist Party, the CHP's predecessor.

The election inaugurated a 550 deputy parliament, its largest membership. The religious Welfare Party (RP) had the largest membership but not a majority standing in the body. The Democratic Left Party (DSP) also made significant gains at the expense of the CHP, which barely crossed the election barrier. The election was also the first time an openly Kurdish party – the People's Democracy Party – contested. It was the leading party in several provinces, but received no MPs due to missing the 10% electoral threshold.

19th Parliament of Turkey

The 19th Grand National Assembly of Turkey existed from November 6, 1991, to December 24, 1995, with most members having been elected in the 1991 election. The True Path Party of Süleyman Demirel gained a majority of seats in the Assembly, being followed by the Motherland Party, the Social Democratic Populist Party, the Welfare Party, and the Democratic Left Party in decreasing order.

20th Parliament of Turkey

This is a list of the 550 Members of Parliament elected in the 1995 general election held in Turkey. The MPs are listed by province. Turkey uses a D'Hondt proportional representative system to elect Members of Parliament. These MPs formed the 20th Parliament of Turkey. An overview of the parliamentary composition is shown in the table below.

54th government of Turkey

The 54th government of Turkey governed Turkey from 28 June 1996 to 30 June 1997. It was a coalition government formed by Welfare Party (RP) and True Path Party (DYP), and was known as Refahyol (a portmanteau of the Turkish names of the two parties in the coalition).

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