Monday, February 28, 2011

Turkey's modern Islamist PM Erbakan dies - Hamas chief to attend funeral - Video


But Welfare [Erbakan's Party] 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.

PM Erdogan too, was nearly ousted by the court, for his Islamist tinkerings with the country's constitution [which he had described as being like a rag with holes in it].

ANKARA (AFP)— The head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, will attend the funeral of Turkey's first Islamist leader Necmettin Erbakan in Istanbul on Tuesday, a former aide to Erbakan said.

"Khaled Meshaal is to arrive in Istanbul to take part in the funeral with other dignitaries from the Muslim world," the aide, Mustafa Kamalak, told reporters on Monday.

Erbakan, the mentor of political Islam in secular Turkey and its first Islamist prime minister, died Sunday, aged 84, after a tumultuous four-decade career marred by feuds with the army.

President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- both Erbakan disciples who would later turn against him -- expressed sorrow after the death, with Erdogan shortening a visit to Germany in order to attend his mentor's funeral.

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.

Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, has reacted angrily to previous contacts between Turkish officials and the militant group.

Erdogan has rejected the "terrorist" label for Hamas and insists that peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East if Hamas is excluded from the process.

Turkey has stated diplomatically that it hopes to be a part of the 'final solution' for the Palestinian - Israeli problem.

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