1998 Turkey’s judiciary dissolved the main opposition Welfare Party and slapped a five-year political ban on former prime minister and party leader Necmettin Erbakan in an anti-Islamist crackdown. “The court decided to close the Welfare Party because of evidence confirming its actions against the principles of the secular republic,” constitutional court chief Ahmet Necdet Sezer said as he read the verdict. Welfare, the biggest party in parliament, upset Turkey’s secularist elite with plans for mild Islamist reforms during a stormy year in government that ended when Erbakan resigned as premier under strong army pressure. Erbakan, 71, is now barred from political leadership for five years and loses his status as a member of parliament. He vowed to dispute the verdict in Europe, where Turkey’s commitment to democracy is increasingly being questioned. The attorney-general had argued that Welfare tried to turn Turkey into an Islamic state like Iran. Most of Welfare’s 158 MPs in the 550-member national assembly automatically become independent deputies and will still be a formidable opposition force.
Other important events
1666 France, allied with Holland, declares war on England.
1761 British take Pondicherry after siege, marking the end of French dominion in India.
1778 France recognises US independence.
1816 Portugal’s South American colony, Brazil, becomes a kingdom.
1909 British explorer Ernest Shackleton finds magnetic south pole.
1920 Georgia declares independence.
1924 Eleftherios Venizelos becomes Prime Minister of Greece for the fourth time.
1925 Leon Trotsky is dismissed from chairmanship of Russia’s Revolutionary Council.
1942 Actress Carole Lombard, 33, dies in a plane crash near Las Vegas.
1966 Major General Aguiyi Ironsi takes over power in Nigeria.
1969 Soviet cosmonauts achieve first linkup of two manned spaceships while in orbit.
1971 Swiss ambassador to Brazil, Giovanni Enrico Bucher, is freed in Rio de Janeiro after being held by kidnappers for 40 days.
1973 US and South Vietnam declare ceasefire in Vietnam War in hopes of full peace pact.
1979 Shah of Iran flees into exile.
1987 Hu Yaobang resigns as head of China’s Communist Party
1991 US led forces attack targets in Kuwait and Iraq and ‘liberation of Kuwait has begun’.
1992 Algerian independence fighter Mohammad Boudiaf receives hero’s welcome after returning home 27 years.
1995 Five-hundred motorists are stranded in the Jawahar tunnel in northern India by a snowslide that killed at least 183 people.
1996 Sierra Leone’s military ruler Valentine Strasser is ousted in a coup
2000 Ricardo Lagos is elected Chile’s first socialist president.
2001 Laurent Kabila, president of Congo, is killed in a shooting at his home.
2006 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is sworn in as Liberia’s new President. She becomes Africa’s first female elected head of state.
2008 The first batch of female Emirati pilots graduate from Khalifa Air College in Al Ain.
2009 Zimbabwe unveils its 100 trillion dollar note.
2012 At least 19 people are killed and 16 others feared trapped in the rubble of a run-down apartment block that collapsed in Beirut.
2013 A helicopter crashes into a crane on top of one of Europe’s tallest residential blocks in Central London, killing two people.
2016 Pro-independence party candidate Tsai Ing-wen wins in Taiwan’s presidential election.