Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the incumbent President of Turkey. Previously, he served Turkey as a Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as a Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. Erdogan was also the leader of the Justice and Development Party, having assumed the office from 2001 to 2014.
Early Life and Education
On 26 February 1954, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born to father Ahmet and mother Tenzile. Until Recep turned 13, he was raised in Rize. Then, the family moved to Istanbul. As a child, Erdogan was entrepreneurial: he vended lemonade and buns.
For early education, Erdogan joined Kasimpasa Piyale primary school and Imam Hatip school. He then moved on to Eyp High School to finally graduate received a diploma. After high schooling, Tayyip went to Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences to do Business Administration.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a married man with four children. He tied the nuptial knot with Emine Gulbaran in 1978 and subsequently had two sons – Ahmet and Necmettin – and two daughters – Esra and Sumeyye.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political career affiliation started he joined National Turkish Student Union in the 1970s. This membership led him to become head of the National Salvation Party’s youth branch. In 1985, he was already the chair of party’s Istanbul branch. Consequently, in 1991, he got elected to the Turkish parliament. Ascending quickly in Turkish politics, Erdogan became the Mayor of Istanbul in 1994. As a Mayor, he focused on infrastructural development. However, he had to step down after being alleged with reciting a hate-mongering poem.
Because of several irregularities in old parties, Erdogan founded his own party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. The year later, AKP became the leading party by acquiring around two-third of the votes in the general election. Unfortunately, the election results were canceled because of unfairness. Hence, a new date for election was announced in 2003, but, again, Erdogan’s party won it. He was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Turkey.
As a PM, Erdogan proposed plans to stop Turkey-Kurdistan Workers’ Party Conflict and to investigate the mass killing of 1.5 million Armenians in war time. Likewise, he concentrated his macroeconomic policies into attracting Foreign Direct Investment. During the ten-year period (2002 to 2012), Erdogan-led Turkey grew by 64% in total and had a GDP Per Capita increment of 43%. Also, he improved worker’s conditions by minimizing workhours per week and per year.
Under Erdogan’s leadership, Education budget saw a massive increment from L7.5 billion (2002) to L34 billion (2011). Alongside education, Erdogan’s infrastructural investment is also impressive. For instance, the number of airports almost doubled in Erdogan administration. Likewise, he launched Health Transformation Program in order to increase health care’s affordability. Despite these jaw-dropping achievements, Erdogan was caught in a serious controversy in 2013.
Reportedly, Erdogan’s phones were tapped and the records revealed PM Erdogan instructing his son to hide black money. Although the allegations were repeatedly denied, Erdogan did admit that his phones might have been tapped. Following this apparent fabrication, Erdogan used his power to block internet sites. Although the ban couldn’t last long, it indeed caused a lot of chaos around the world.
Following a successful yet controversial Prime Ministership, Erdogan headed towards leading the country as its President. He won the presidential elections with 51.9% votes and officially assumed the office on 28 August 2014. Initially, he got largely criticized for trying to go beyond the prime duties of a President. Under his command, Prime Minister Ahmet Cavutoglu felt docile. Likewise, Erdogan apparently violated the Constitution of Turkey by tending to take sides while dealing with the incumbent government.
Talking about Erdogan’s foreign policies, he is one of the most competent diplomats. He even was titled ‘European of the Year 2004’ by European Voice. He is very much considerate about getting into the European Union, but the union itself seems to be very concerned about Erdogan’s various political policies. Besides the EU, Erdogan was also crucial in normalizing relationships between Greece and Cyprus in 2007.
In addition, Erdogan worked in coalition with the US President Bush’s administration in 2003 Iraq Invasion. On the other side, he held talks with Iran on bilateral military and trade deals. With Russia, Erdogan doesn’t seem to be totally impressed. He has said that his country will not recognize Crimea’s occupation by Russia in 2014. Moreover, three of Turkish soldiers were mistakenly killed by Russian bombing – this could lead to more hostile situations. On Saudi Arabia, Erdogan is prioritizing bilateral political, economic and military relations.
While Erdogan was enjoying his holidays, the military power attempted a coup on July 15, 2016. As per the reports, he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. After fleeing to Istanbul, Erdogan gained international and domestic support and was quickly able to gain the power back. Tragically, the attempted coup left 400 dead and 1400 injured. So far, Erdogan’s power has arguably been fruitful. We have yet to see how his policies change alongside the changes in global leadership positions.
Awards and Honours
- 13 June 2004: Golden Plate award from the Academy of Achievement
- 2 September 2005: Mediterranean Award for Institutions
- 1 November 2006: Outstanding Service award from the Turkish humanitarian organization Red Crescent
- 11 July 2007: Agricola Medal, highest award of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
- 26 October 2009: Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian award in Pakistan
- 12 January 2010: King Faisal International Prize for “service to Islam” from the King Faisal Foundation
- 17 May 2010: Georgia’s Order of Golden Fleece
- 25 November 2010: “Leader of the Year” award presented by the Union of Arab Banks in Lebanon
- 11 January 2011: “Outstanding Personality in the Islamic World Award” of the Sheikh Fahad al-Ahmad International Award for Charity in Kuwait
- 21 January 2012: ‘Gold Statue 2012 Special Award’ by the Polish Business Center Club (BCC)
Donald Trump and Erdogan
US President Trump and Turkish President Erdogan seem to be getting along quite well so far. To start with, Erdogan publicly wished the US a ‘bright future’ ahead after Trump’s landslide victory on November 20.
Likewise, Erdogan fully supports Donald Trump’s stances on media outlets. What Erdogan doesn’t really agree with Trump is his vows to put a Muslim ban. Otherwise, the two leaders are going well: they have even agreed to formulate joint actions against Islamic State militants.