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A clock displaying the emblem of the Welfare Party. The party slogan translates as "Justice is our goal."

The Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP) was a Islamist political party in Turkey. It was founded by Ahmed Tekdal 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%. 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 for violating the principle of secularism in the constitution.[2]. 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 disbanding of other parties in several occasions.[3][4]


  1. ^ Karadjis, Michael (1997-10-19). "Behind the Turkish Military’s “Soft Coup”". Green Left Weekly 294. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  
  2. ^ [1]
  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. Retrieved 2008-08-28.  

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