Erbakan was Erdogan’s mentor. The military stopped Erbakan from implementing Sharia and destroying Turkish secularism, but that was fifteen years ago, and a great deal has changed. Now the military may not be able to stop Erdogan. “Thousands gather for Turkey Islamist leader’s funeral,” from AFP, March 1 (thanks to all who sent this in):
ISTANBUL “” Thousands of mourners chanting “Allahu Akbar” flocked to a mosque in Istanbul Tuesday for the funeral of the mentor of political Islam in secular Turkey and its first Islamist prime minister.
Necmettin Erbakan, who was prime minister for about a year starting in 1996 and a mentor to the country’s current crop of Islamist-rooted leaders, died Sunday aged 84.
The controversial leader had a tumultuous four-decade career, marred by feuds with the army and marked by anti-Western rhetoric.
Erbakan was to buried in an Istanbul cemetery later Tuesday after a ceremony attended by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, both former protoges….
Erbakan became Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister in 1996 in a coalition with a centre-right partner after his Welfare Party won 21 percent of the vote and became the largest parliamentary group.
But Welfare moves to raise the profile of Islam in social life and seek closer ties with Islamic states such as Iran and Libya quickly irked the staunchly secularist and then-omnipotent military.
A harsh army-led secularist campaign forced Erbakan to step down in 1997, after about a year in power.
The following year, the constitutional court outlawed Welfare and banned Erbakan from politics for five years, which eventually led to a split in his movement as moderates, led by Erdogan, broke ranks with their mentor.