Politician, statesman, prime minister (B. 29 October 1926, Sinop – D. 27 February 2011). His father is Judge Mehmet Sabri Bey, originally from Adana, Kozan family, his mother is Kamer Hanım. He started his primary education in Kayseri, but since they migrated to Trabzon because of his father’s office he completed it there. After graduating from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Istanbul Technical University (1948) which he started as a sophomore, he became an assistant there. In 1951 he made his PhD in Germany, in Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (RWTH Aachen) to where he was sent by the university. He worked in DVL Research Center together with Prof. Dr. Schmidt and completed his PhD in German universities (1951-54). Upon his return to Turkey he established Gümüş Motor (T.N. Gümüş Engine Firm) between the years 1956-63 and realized the first Turkish engine production. In 1966 he was appointed as the President of Industry Office of TOBB (T.N. Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges) and as the General Secretary in 1967. The same year he married Nermin Hanım (1943-2005).
Even if applied for candidacy for Republic Senate from AP, his candidacy was prevented by Demirel. The same conflict caused the invalidity of his being elected as Executive Board President of TOBB in 1969. Upon these developments he became candidate for Parliament Membership from Konya and entered TBMM by being elected.
He established Milli Nizam Party (MNP) with his friends on the 26th of January 1970. The religious and spiritual sensitivity of the party which was embraced by religious and conservative environments, MNP’s Islamic identity and its stance against zionism it proved in the famous “Jerusalem Meeting” organize by MNP in Konya and other activities, attracted negative attention of some. The Constitutional Court, which mobilized, closed MNP because of having anti-secularist activities on the 21st of May 1971. He established Milli Selamet Party (MSP) on the 11th of October 1972 with the cadre of MNP, replacing this party. MSP obtained 11,8% of all votes in general elections of 14 October 1973 it participated to with its leader Süleyman Arif Emre, acquiring 48 chairs in TBMM. Erbakan according to General Executive Board decision of 20 October 1973 was appointed party leader of MSP. One year later CHP-MSP coalition government was established. At that time jokes were made about this coalition such as “Selamün Akgün” which referred to the “Akgünlere” slogan used by Bülent Ecevit during the elections and “MSP on the top – CHP at the bottom” and Erbakan served in this government as the vice prime minister (26th January 1974 – 17th November 1974). During the coalition government of his party with CHP (1974) Turkey organized the Northern Cyprus Peace Operation, the island was divided into two parts de facto and later KKTC (Northern Cyprus Turkish Republic) was founded. Differences of opinions on internal politics created a rift between CHP and MSP. The coalition was dismantled with Ecevit’s resignation who expected a one-party-government after the first election.
MSP under his leadership received 8, 57% of votes in general elections of 5 June 1977 and obtained 24 chairs in the parliament. Erbakan this time took part in coalitions of 1st Milliyetçi Cephe (Nationalist Front) (31 Match 1975 – 21 June 1977) and 2nd Milliyetçi Cephe (Nationalist Front) (21 July 1977 – 5 January 1978) with Demirel as their prime minister. After these coalitions he supported Demirel’s 6th coalition government from outside.
A short period after these coalitions in which Erbakan served as Vice Prime Minister the army took control of the rule on the 12th of September 1980. Erbakan was one of the people who were taken into custody during the 12 September period. His party MSP was among the closed parties. On the 15th of October 1980 he was arrested together with 21 MSP executives because of ‘turning MSP into an illegal association and having an anti-secularist attitude’. He was kept in Izmir Uzunada. On the 24th of July 198l he was released and acquitted.
He was banned from politics for ten years according to the 1982 Constitution. This ban continued until his return to politics with a referendum dated 1987. He established on the 19th of July 1983 the Refah Party (RP) and became its leader. RP received 7, 16% in general elections of 29 November 1987 and could not overcome the limit of 10%, thus staying out of parliament. Erbakan who was affected by the failure in this election, according to some people took his lessons from this result and according to others as a result of deep pressures participated to the next election in alliance with MHP. In general elections of 20 October 1991, this alliance with MHP received 16, 88% of all votes and obtained 62 chairs in the parliament. MHP in this way entered the parliament.
Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan had his major political success in general elections of 24 December 1995. RP under his leadership received 21, 38% of all votes and obtained 158 chairs in the parliament, being the first party. In this way he could realize his followers’ dreams of him being the Prime Minister. He made a coalition with DYP under the leadership of Tansu Çiller on the 28th of June 1996, establishing the RP-DYP Government (Refah-Yol). Thus he became the Prime Minister of 54th Government.
In this period the first balanced budget of Turkish history was realized. The first 8 months were applied in the planned way. At that time, Turkey was the leader of a large organization called D-8. He started the “system of pool” application which removed the need of the treasure’s borrowing from the internal market. He started to apply the sliding scale system, which meant to grant a monthly raise for public officials at the rate of inflation + growth automatically. He realized raises in salaries of public servants, retired people and laborers at the rates of % 110 and % 200 one after the other. However, since this success of Erbakan meant that for the first time an Islamist leader was Prime Minister in the history of republic, various projects and campaigns were started to discharge him from the rule after a short time of the establishment of the government. With the memorandum of 28 February 1997 he was forced to resign from Prime Ministry. One year later Welfare Party whose leader he was, closed with illegitimate reasons and he was banned from politics. On the 21st of May 1997 a “first” happened and Vural Savaş, Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor, presented a closure case against a ruling party, RP. The Closure case lasted about 8 months and the Constitutional Court decided to close RP on the 16th of January 1998 and to ban Erbakan and some of his friends from politics for five years. In 2000 he was condemned to one year imprisonment because of a speech he made in Bingöl in 1994 and banned from politics again for another five years.
Necmettin Erbakan who never gave up during all his life made establish the Fazilet Party in a short time and later took its leadership. However, the descent period had started. All parties he established were closed after a short time. Fazilet Party under his leadership was established on the 17th of December 1997 and received 15, 41% of all votes in the general elections of 18 April 1999, obtaining 111 parliament members. However, after a while, his party was divided into two parts: “Traditionalists” who were loyal to him and “Innovators” who adopted the leadership of Recep Tayip Erdoğan. “Innovators” established after a certain period Adalet ve Kalkınma Party (AK Parti). AK Parti under the leadership of Erdoğan obtained 365 chairs in the parliament after the general elections of 3 November 2002 and came to rule alone.
According to an act, which was introduced by the end of 2000, his penalty was suspended, but he could not participate to the general elections of 3 November 2002 upon a negative decision of YSK (T.N. Supreme Committee of Elections). The Saadet Party which was established replacing his closed party (FP) by his friends received 2, 49% of all votes in this election and 2, 34 % in the next one, thus not being able to enter the parliament.
Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan, whose penalty was turned into a house arrest because of his elderliness and as one of the most interesting and important figures of our political history, passed away on the 27th of February 2011, Sunday, in Ankara. After a very crowded funeral prayer at noon time on the 1st of March 2011, Tuesday, in Istanbul Fatih Mosque, he was inhumed to Topkapı Merkez Efendi Cemetery; next to his wife Nermin Erbakan’s grave. Interesting was, that aside from the presence of a large crowd, military and bureaucratic environments who tried to exclude him from politics in the past sent wreaths and high ranked representatives to his funeral.
Prof. Dr. Necmettin Erbakan who was known as the leader of Milli Görüş (T.N. National Vision Movement) at home and abroad always dreamt of a national recovery and rearing in education, culture and economy. Aside from his political works and speeches, he was also known with his scholarship and conferences he held about scientific issues. The finesse he contributed to the politics, which had a humorous style, and the elegancy and kindness he showed in his personality were appreciated not only by his friends, but also enemies.
İslâm ve İlim, İslâmda Kadın, Sanayi Davamız, Millî Görüş, Erbakan Açıklıyor (1991), Kenan Evren’in Anılarındaki Yanılgılar (1991), Körfez Krizi, Emperyalizm ve Petrol (1991), Türkiye’nin Temel Meseleleri (1992).
REFERENCE: Abdullah Lelik / Millî Görüş Temel Görüş (der. 1974), Abdullah Lelik / Erbakan mı Ecevit mi? (1975), Mustafa Özdamar / Yaşı ve Başıyla Mim Sin Harekâtı (1977), Yurt Ansiklopedisi (c. VIII, 1982-1983), Ali Yaşar Sarıbay / Türkiye’de Modernleşme Din ve Parti Politikası - MSP Örnek Olayı (1985), Sadık Albayrak / MSP Davası ve 12 Eylül (1990), Soner Yalçın / Hangi Erbakan (1994), Hakan Akpınar / 28 Şubat Postmodern Darbenin Öyküsü (2001), İhsan Işık / Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2206, 2007) - Ünlü Devlet Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 1, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), Mehmet Şevket Eygi / Merhum Necmeddin Bey (Milli Gazete, 1 Mart 2011).