Prof. Dr. Nazmuddin Erbakan: A Pioneer of Islamic Movement in Turkey


By Burhan Uddin

He was born in sinop on 29th october,1926.His father Mahmud sabri Erbakan , who was from Kozanogullari, lived in Kozan and saimbeyli in adana for years. Because of the appionment of his father , his childhood passed in several palces . His mother, Kamer Hanim, was from one of the well known families in sinop.
Nazimuddin Erbakan graduated from government primary school in kayseri ad had go to Trabzon because of his father’s appointment and he finished his primary education successfully in Trabzon.
Erbakan was brought up by Sheikh M. Zahid Kotku HZ. Who was the Imam of Iskenderpasha mosque and a naqshbandi sheikh and other enlightened and scholar muslim leader. Sheikh kotku had a deep effect on Erbakan in terms of moral maturation.
After graduating from the primary school in 1937, he continued his education in Istanbul High School. He was called as ‘Derya nazimuddin’’ thanks to great success in his school. In those times , the top student could go to the University directly without any exam.But he did not accept the exemption, and he got the exam.He achieved a perfect score and began Istanbul Technical University from the second years.One of his friends in University was Suleyman Demirel who also very soon became a politician. Erbakan put forth a great deal of effort to open a small mosque for his friends to pray easily at the university and he succeeded.
In 1948 During summer term, Erbakan who graduated from ITU, faculty of mechanical engineering with a good degree, got the chairmenship as an assistant at Engine Department of the Machine Faculty.During the following years, he prepared his doctorate thesis. Although doctors and professors were able to teach in universities, he was given a special permission for teaching only when he was assistant.
In 1951, he was sent to Aachen Technical University in Germany by the fellowship of ITU for the aim of improving his scientific research with professor smith . He prepared three theses in two years. One of them was his doctoral thesis, and then he got the fame as a Doctor-Engineer.
Erbakan made successfully research about engines which use little fuel oil.After his thesis it was published in some of the important magazines, Prof. Dr. Flats who was the director of the greatest engine factory at that time, DEUTZ, invited him to make research about the Leopard Tanks.
After the second World War, Erbakan, the first Turkish scientist at German Universities, returned to Istanbul for the exam of Assistant Professorship. When he was 27, he became the youngest assistant professor. Then he went back to Germany for his investigations. Also, he was the head engineer of engine research for 6 years. In 1953, he returned to ITU. In between 1954-1955 he joined to army. He was second lieutenant for 6 months and lieutenant for the next 6 months. During military service, a regular equipment list was prepared by him. The list aroused attention in the American Comission and an American captain announced that he wanted to see the soldier who prepared the list. When the colonel asked ‘’Why do you want product machines this year while they had wanted final products previously?’’ Erbakan replied that ‘’These workbenches were in America, why should not we them?’’ soon these workbenches were brought to Turkey.
After finishing military service, he returned to university again and in 1956, he set up ‘’GÜMÜS’’ Engine company that would produce the first local engine.when prime minister Adnan Mendres congratulated Erbakan and thanked him .In 1960, in the congress of industry Erbakan said that we should have produced our own automobile up to now. Later, the first Automobile name DEVRIM was produced in the first local automobile company of the country which was set up by Erbakan.
In 1966 Prof. Erbakan became the President of Industry Division in the Union of Chambers and Commodity exchange of Turkey. In 1968, he became a member of executive board of the Union.In 1969, he was the president of the Union Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. But Demirel was the head of the government in those years.He removed Erbakan from his position in an illegal way.
After consulting to opinion leaders of society he decided to continue struggling in political arena.He applied to Adalet party but he was vetoed. He was elected from Konya as an independent member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 1969.He married With Nermin Erbakan, a graduate of economics in 1967.
They have two daughters, Zeynep born 1968, Elif born in 1974 and a son Muhammed Fatih born 1979.
Erbakan founded the first political party ‘’Milli Nizam ‘’,which was a product of ‘’Milli Görüs’’ Movement in 1970 january 24, but when the party was closed in an undemocratic way in 1971 after a military coup, Erbakan went to Switzerland for a short time.
The second party he founded was milli Selamet Party.From 1974 to 1978 the party was in different coalition governments and Erbakan was the Deputy prime minister and president of Economy Council.During these four years he focused on the material and moral developmet of Turkey, he played a crucial role in the Cyprus success.Its a interesting matter 1974 the prime minister Turkey Bülent Ecevit Visit abroad and Erbakan became Acting prime minister and he attach Cyprus where was muslims was massacared by Cyprus government. They invade Cyprus and now the Turkish Cyprus is an autonomy state. 1974 he pioneered the movement of heavy industry, achieved complete membership of ’’ORGANIZATION OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES’’, he guaranteed equal rights to the graduates of Madrasah in University entrance exam. After the coup of 12 September, the party was closed and he was banned from politics.
In 1987, Erbakan came back to the active politics with Welfare(Refah) party. After becoming a member of the assembly, his party had a historical success in municipiality elections, which is soon named as ‘’REVOLUTION’’
In 1995, Refah Party become to be greatest party of Turkey as a result of the election. And Erbakan formed the 54th government of Turkey on28th June 1996, becoming the prime minister. The coalition government lasted only 11 mounts.During that time, he struggled so hard to achieve his widely known three ideals which are:
1.Liveable Turkey.
2.Great Turkey Again.
3.A New World Order.
He succeeded balanced budget without taking domestic or foreign debt. He assured more than 30 billion with the source packet and pool system. The nominal welfare of whole society doubled.
In international arena, he took the first step for D-8 Movement by bringing together Eight Muslim Countries. BANGLADESH, EGYPT, INDONESIA,IRAN, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN and TURKEY. Which is thought to represent the 5 billion population of developing countries against G-8in a peaceful way.The last action attracted the attention of secret governers of the world.So again an anti -democratic process began and Erbakan was forced to leave Prime Ministry by a post -modern coup and he was banned from politics and his party was closed.
The movement of Milli Görüs has continued with Fazilet (Virtue) party. This party was also closed after an elected parliament re member refused to take off her head scarf.
With Erbakan, political and geographical perceptions of Muslims have changed in Turkey and in Islamic world. Islam, in the last 200 years history of Turkey was imprisoned to the hearts and mosques, and Muslims were treated as second class people.With him Muslims of Turkey believed that they must have the strongest voice in the future of their country. And this geography indeed belongs to them.
He pointed to the importance of the power of money and independence. He demonstrated people, how they are exploited by a happy minority, through high interest rates and other tools. He believed that Muslim Countries are indeed rich in terms of the diversity of resources and he showed how these resources can be used during his governments.
With him, Muslims recognised the double standart treatments of international organizations such as a UN, NATO, EU and learned the secret and real governers of the world. So he was seen responsible for unforgivable mistakes in the eys of political, economic, military and media powers. They never tried to understand the cures presented by him instead they chose to label him as unrealistic. There fore he has always been exposed to standerds , inquires and accusations.
One of the distinctive charactersticts of Erbakan is his determination and stability in his ideals and convictions and never acceptance of impossibility. The struggle of Erbakan continues in political arena with Saadet party.
Erbakan died on 27 February 2011 at 11:40 local time of heart failure at Güven Hospital in Çankaya, Ankara .His body was transferred to Istanbul, and following the religious funeral service at the Fatih Mosque, the attending crowd (about 3 million people) accompanied his coffin the about 4 km (2.5 mi) way to the Merkezefendi Cemetery, where he was laid to rest beside his wife Nermin. He did not wish a state funeral, however his funeral was attended by highest state and government officials.