Virtue Party

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Short-lived successor to the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) in Turkey. Founded in 1998. Became the leading opposition party. Led by Recai Kutan. Proclaimed a softer Islamic profile than Refah, emphasizing Turkey's Islamic traditions and culture; this change was symbolized by the appointment of three non-Islamist, non-hijab-wearing women to the party's executive board. Favored full integration with the West to ensure civilian rule and democracy in Turkey. Fared well in the 1998 municipal elections and proved successful in providing social services. Came in third in the 1999 parliamentary elections. Became controversial later that year after a female deputy, Merve Kavakci, was forced to leave the swearing-in session of the parliament because she wore a head scarf. Accused of being an illegal Islamic organization and was banned in 2001, making it the sixteenth political party to be outlawed in Turkey since 1983.

Subjects: Islam.

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