Turkey’s first Islamist Prime Minister, Necmettin Erbakan, has died from heart failure at the age of 85.
The founder of Turkey’s modern Islamist movement, Erbakan became premier in a coalition government in 1996. But he served for only one year after being forced to step down by the staunchly secular military.
His Islamist Welfare Party was outlawed in 1998 and Erbakan was banned from politics for five years.
Welfare was a precursor of Turkey’s current ruling AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam.
Erbakan was later given a prison sentence in a fraud case. This was commuted to home confinement and he was later pardoned by President Abdullah Gul.
Tributes have been paid to Erbakan who, despite his age, took over the leadership of a small political party last year.
“We will remember him with gratitude,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was, for many years, one of Erbakan’s lieutenants.