PM back on anniversary of ‘Feb 28’

PM back on anniversary of ‘Feb 28’

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
PM back on anniversary of ‘Feb 28’

PM Erdoğan (R) and Libyan PM El-Keib shake hands after a meeting on Feb 25. AA photo

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to attend the meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) today, to be held on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the council’s historic meeting in 1997, which led to the resignation of Turkey’s first Islamist-led government and profoundly reshaped the country’s political landscape.

Today’s MGK meeting coincides also with the first anniversary of the death of Necmettin Erbakan, the prime minister whose government was unseated in the so-called “post-modern coup,” and Erdoğan’s political mentor.

Erdoğan has been in Istanbul since Feb. 10, when he underwent a second operation on his digestive system, which officials have described as the final phase of his treatment for an intestinal ailment.
Tomorrow, he is expected to make a speech at the parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), in which the “February 28 process” is likely to figure prominently.

The turbulent process took its name from the Feb. 28, 1997 meeting of the MGK, at which Turkey’s then omnipotent military imposed a series of tough decisions on then prime ministerNecmettin Erbakan, aimed mainly at curbing religious schools and Islamic education in the face of what was perceived at the time as a growing threat to Turkey’s secular system.

Backed by the bureaucracy and much of the media, the army kept Erbakan under pressure, forcing him to resign in June. Erbakan’s Welfare Party, to which Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül belonged, was outlawed for anti-secular activities several months later.