Welfare Party

Welfare Party

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Welfare Party

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The Welfare Party (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, Milli Nizam Partisi (National Order Party, MNP) and Milli Selamet Partisi (National Salvation Party, MSP), which were banned from politics. The RP participated in mayoral elections at that time and they won in three cities- Konya, Şanlıurfa, and Van. Their vote percentage was approximately 5%. Welfare Party participated to 1991 elections as triple alliance with MÇP and Reformist Democracy Party (IDP). Their vote percentage was 16.90 in it. They won 62 deputies but 19 ones of MÇP (with founding Democratic Movement Party in 25 December 1991 and joning to MÇP in 29 December 1991) and 3 ones of IDP were left RP 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 for violating the principle of secularism in the constitution. The ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on February 13, 2003. The ECHR's decision was criticized by Human Rights Watch for lack of consistency, as the ECHR had refused...
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