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HE Recep Tayyip Erdogan

President of the Republic of Turkey

HE Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the Prime Minister of Turkey for 11 years, winning three consecutive elections with a majority, before becoming Turkey’s first popularly-elected president in August 2014. During his three terms as Prime Minister, Turkey saw unprecedented economic growth, constitutional reform, and a re-emergence as a major global power.

The President: President Erdogan won 52% of the vote in Turkey’s first direct elections for president. This was a continuation of his remarkable popularity and success at the ballot box over the past decade. During his time as president he has pushed aggressively for more powers for his post, a move not welcomed by all, and criticised by many as signs of wanting excessive power.

First Taste of Defeat?: The 2015 elections saw President Erdogan campaigning for his former party and ruling government, the AKP. The elections were seen by many as a referendum on Erdogan’s vision of a new Turkey headed by a president. Despite an AKP victory, there was no majority, and talks to form a coalition have broken down; leading to the possibility of fresh elections. The results were a blow to Erdogan’s ambitions.

A Popular Reformist: President Erdogan has pledged to continue working for Turkey’s inclusion in the EU. In September 2010, over 58% of voters supported Erdogan’s constitutional referendum which made changes to the Constitution in order to bring it into compliance with European Union Standards, hence facilitating Turkey’s EU membership process. Erdogan has also led groundbreaking initiatives by introducing a number of democratic measures in regards to the country’s judicial system; the Kurdish issue; non-Muslim minorities; Alawites; freedom of the press; zero-tolerance for torture and the fight against coup attempts.

Arab World: Turkey’s position during the various uprisings of the Arab Spring has always been to side with the protestors and rebels. In Syria, this has led to border clashes with Syrian government forces, allowing Turkey the opportunity to deploy NATO Patriot missiles on its border with Syria. With Egypt, Erdogan reacted strongly and when former president Muhammed al-Morsi was deposed by the Egyptian armed forces and he publicly denounced former Field Marshal and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a tyrant and he offered a haven to Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members who evaded arrest. Arab media have accused Erdogan of allowing DA’ISH fighters to make use of safe houses and medical care in Turkey as well as covertly  supplying DA’ISH with weapons and ammunition in 2014 and overtly serving as the middle man for DA’ISH sales of Iraqi oil, which has added a million dollars a day of revenue to the DA’ISH treasury. When Turkey finally moved against DA’ISH in the form of air attacks, Egyptian and other media suggested that those bombing runs against DA’ISH in Syria were a feeble cover for far more intensive attacks against the military units of both Syrian and Turkish Kurdish enclaves.

Global Relations: Under Erdogan, Turkey has focused on building stronger relations with all of its seven land-contiguous neighbours (especially Greece) and also all of those countries bordering the Black Sea (an important trading hub and a geopolitically significant area). In Africa, it has opened up over twenty new embassies and consulates and when Somalia suffered from a crippling famine and drought in 2011, Erdogan not only gave aid, but also became the first leader from outside Africa to visit Somalia in nearly two decades. While Turkey has about 45% of its foreign trade with European countries, it is developing strong trade relations with other regions and attracting investment from all over the world.

Challenges: Erdogan’s popularity at home has dropped significantly with people uneasy about his plans to concentrate more powers in the hands of the presidency. He is also still suffering from the fallout from the heavy-handed response to the Taksim Square protests, and the highly publicised spat with Fethullah Gülen and the institutes dominated by the latter’s followers (especially the police). Further, Turkey’s support for the Free Syrian Army has been linked to the rise of DA’ISH which is threatening the stability of the whole region. Erdogan will have to balance these key domestic and international issues if he is to re-address his decline in popularity within the Muslim World.

Bait-and-Switch? In July 2015 Turkey finally declared war on da’ish after an agreement with the US. It immediately proceeded to bomb sites in Iraq and Syria that it said were PKK sites. Turkey was consequently accused by the Kurds and by some US officials of a ‘bait-and-switch’ ploy, using Da’ish as bait to fight its old nemesis, the Kurds.

450 %The growth in the budget for the Ministry of Education during his leadership, now the country’s largest ministry. The military formerly had that distinction.
1.7 milSyrian refugees.
Turkey fights al-Qaeda like it fights the PKK: PM Erdoğan - Hurriyet Daily News
2013-11-07 15:38:54

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt address a press conference at the Rosenbad government house in Stockholm, Sweden on Nov 7. Erdogan is in Sweden for a one day official visit. AFP PHOTO ...

Erdogan envisions democratized 'new Turkey' -
2013-11-03 02:10:50

2 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said Saturday the country is going through a "true normalization" process that will result in a "new Turkey." "What is being experienced in Turkey is true normalization," Today's Zaman quoted Erdogan as ...

The Ten Worst Purveyors of Antisemitism Worldwide, #8: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - PJ Media
2013-10-13 17:00:10

Back on June 10, 2005, in New York, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accepted an award from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on behalf of Turkish diplomats who had saved Jews during World War II. Erdoğan had been elected two years ...and more »

Why are birds 'angry,' PM Erdoğan asks company CEO - Hurriyet Daily News
2013-11-07 01:10:14

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Rovio, the developer of the world-famous Angry Birds application, in Finland yesterday, attending a meeting with the company's CEO, Mikael Hed. The meeting itself, however, was soon overshadowed by ...and more »

Ruling party deputies also question Erdoğan's motives behind 'student house ... - Hurriyet Daily News
2013-11-07 13:44:15

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's vow to crack down on mixed-gender student accommodation – even in private houses – has not just riled the opposition, but even created a reaction from his own party amid speculation about the premier's motives for ...

Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan 'tipped Iran off about Mossad agents' -
2013-10-17 18:02:26

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, acting through his powerful secret service chief, gave the Iranian government details of meetings that took place on Turkish soil between the Iranians and their Israeli Mossad handlers, a report in the Washington Post claimed ...

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: “Nagorno-Karabakh problem is as important for Turkey ... - APA
2013-11-13 12:23:00

We continue our unconditional support to Azerbaijan for the peaceful solution of the problem,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the press conference following the 3rd meeting of Azerbaijan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation ...

Erdogan's 'morality police' assume duty - Al-Monitor
2013-11-06 22:28:53

It all started with the leak of remarks made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a closed meeting over the weekend. According to media reports, Erdogan said university students — boys and girls — were sharing flats in the western province of ...

Turkey's Gradual Revolution - Project Syndicate
2013-10-23 15:30:17

ANKARA – When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his latest package of democratic reforms, ultra-nationalist groups accused him of betraying the values of the republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, while Kurdish nationalists ...

Başbakan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Muharrem iftarında konuştu - Bugün
2013-11-12 17:51:11

Başbakan Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Türkiye Uzlaşı ve Toplumsal Kalkınma Vakfının ATO Congresium'da verdiği "muharrem orucu iftarı"na katıldı. Erdoğan, yaptığı konuşmada, Vakfın yöneticilerine anlamlı bir buluşma tertip ettiklerini için şükranlarını sunarak ...

The safety and peace of our neighbouring countries and our brothers and friends across the world are among the pillars of our foreign policy.
What should be targeted is a concept of organic, and not just mechanic, democracy that preserves the rule of law, separation of powers, and that is participatory and pluralistic.

Birth: 26 February 1954 (Age: 61)

Source of Influence:

Influence:President of 75.7 million Turkish citizens

School of Thought:

Status: Featured in current year

The safety and peace of our neighbouring countries and our brothers and friends across the world are among the pillars of our foreign policy.
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450 %The growth in the budget for the Ministry of Education during his leadership, now the country’s largest ministry. The military formerly had that distinction.
1.7 milSyrian refugees.
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