Recep Tayyip Erdogan
The leader of the Justice and Development Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been the Islamic judge and prime minister in Turkey since 2002, and is also from the most important figures in the Turkish Republican Era. He is the most important political figure in this country after the establishment of Modern Turkey – Secularism – Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He is also considered to be one of the most prominent officials in the Islamic world.
Origin, Birth and Upbringing:
Erdogan was born in February 26, 1954 in the neighbourhood of Qasim Pasha in Istanbul to a poor father who worked in the Coast Guard. He spent his early childhood in “the province of Raydhah” north of Turkey. His ancestors originate from the city of Batumi, Georgia, and they all migrated to Turkey. Soon the father migrated to Istanbul in the last century during the forties; in search of greater opportunities for a living, and after he had finished his primary education he joined the School of Scholars and Religious Preachers. From then on, he went on to join with the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at the University of Marmara in Istanbul.
This humble upbringing did not prevent him from taking pride in his own self… He stated in a debate broadcasted on television with Deniz Baykal, who is the Head of the Republican Party, that: “I had only watermelons and Sumait in the two stages of primary and secondary education; so as to help my parents in the share of my educational expenses; indeed my father was poor”.
Erdogan joined the party of National Peace at an early age which was founded in 1972 and led by Erbakan. He has remained as a member of the Welfare and Virtue Party which constraint Erbakan after waves of the ban, which was affecting his groups. Additionally, in 1985 Erdogan became the head of the Welfare National Party branch in Istanbul and in 1994 he won the presidency of Istanbul Municipality.
During his presidency of Istanbul Municipality, Erdogan has produced essential achievements for the city, which earned him great popularity in the whole of Turkey. However, this popularity has not been in his favour when he was subjected to judicial proceedings before the State Security Court in 1998 when he was convicted on charges of incitement to religious hatred. The accusation was based on the fact that he publicly recited a poem which read the following lines: “Mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our bayonets and the believers are our soldiers…” He was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of ten months, but despite that he was released after four months.
However, due to his criminal record, he was banned from participating as a candidate in the elections or holding a political position. Erdogan and his lawyers have argued that the recent changes in Turkish legislation, which governs freedom of speech, makes his conviction null and void.
After his release from a few months in prison, the Constitutional Court in 1999 set up the Virtue Party, which was put in place as a substitute for the Welfare Party and so the group was consequently divided into two divisions: (1) The Division of Conservatives and, (2) The Division of Youth Reformists being led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Jul, and they too founded the AKP in 2001.
The party embarked upon the legislative elections in 2002 and won 363 deputies, which constitutes the overwhelming majority as well as transmitting parties long into retirement. Erdogan could not preside over the government because of the consequences of his imprisonment in which the task was conducted by his friend Abdullah Jul. Although, however, he managed to become the prime minister after the dropping of his conviction and also placed in the parliament some reforms to the Turkish Penal Code. Afterwards, he abandoned the stern Islamic views and adopted a centrist approach in which he describes his party as a conservative democrat and not a religious party.
Success of Succession:
He was considered during his first rule to be amongst the greatest reformers searching for a democratisation of the Turkish society in the face of the political implementation by the military. In 2005, he opened an operation of negotiation around the accession to the European Union, which has remained till today a dead end. He was also praised in his second governance (2007-2011) as he gave the economy a boost despite the global crisis even though the growth rate in Turkey when he assumed leadership was equal to 9.4% below zero (-9.4). This was in order for his governments to record legendary figures who have been made from their group to achieve economically during the nine years of rule. Moreover, this is more than what has been achieved in the first 79 in founding the Turkish Republic. Further, the growth rate has moved from 5.9% in 2003 to 9.99% in 2004 before the reduction of growth to 1.1% during the global financial crisis in 2008. But amendments were also made with tremendous speed whereby the growth reached 8.9% in 2010 in order to be securely fixed at 7% in the present time. This proportion is not to be found in any of the 27 countries of the European Union.
With regards to inflation, this has declined from 70.8% in 2002 to 18.4% in 2003 to 9.3% in 2004 and 6.4% in 2010, all the way down to 3.99% in March 2011; something which has not occurred in Turkey since half a century. In 2009 for example, Turkey’s foreign exchange reserves were three times higher than it was in 2002. Add that the size of the Turkish economy which did not in exceed $ 250 billion in 2002, while today it exceeds annual GDP of Turkey $ 800 billion. As such, the annual per capita income is of around 11 thousand dollars today, per capita, while not exceeding $ 3300 upon the arrival of the ruling party to power.
Subsequently, he took government leadership working internally on establishing security, political, economic and social stability in Turkey in tandem with reconciliation with the Armenians after the historical enmity, and also with Greece likewise. He also built bridges between him and Azerbaijan along with the rest of the former Soviet republics. Further, he has established cooperation with Iraq and Syria and opened the borders with several Arab countries and lifted the entry visa. Moreover, he has opened up avenues for economic, political, social and cultural ties with several countries of the world, and the city of Istanbul became the European cultural capital in 2010. On top of that, he returned to the cities and villages of the Kurds after Kurdish names were prohibited, and allowed a formal sermon in the Kurdish language. The authority of the military men had weakened and he strove to lift the ban on wearing headscarves in Turkish universities.
In June 2011, the Justice and Development Party have won for the third time in the general elections after attaining more than 50 per cent of the votes.
Erodogan’s Withdrawal from Davos:
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has withdrawn from the Davos Conference in the 29th of January 29, 2009, in protest of the lack of opportunity to respond to the Israeli President Shimon Peres, who was defending Israel’s aggression against Gaza. The words are as follows:
Rajab Tayeb Erdogan/Turkey’s Prime Minister: Mr. Peres, you are not older than me and spoke very loudly and I know very well that the high voice in this way is an expression of psychological accusation, but I will not speak out loud like you, and I know this well indeed. When we come to talk about the murder you know very well about the killing. I know very well how you killed children on the beach in Gaza, in Israel, two Heads of Government have told me that one of the most important statements is, “When we go to the Palestinian territories with our tanks we are strangely delighted.” You have Heads of Governments who say these words and I can give you the names of these figures, do not worry, I blame those who applauded this injustice because the applause for child murderers and killers of human beings, I believe, is a another humanitarian crime altogether.
In this place and situation we can not ignore the truth. I have come to record many points but I do not have the opportunity to answer them. Instead I will only talk about two points… (Interruption): Mr. Prime Minister we can not go back to the beginning even if you allowed me too…
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (interrupted): Do not interrupt me. In Article VI of the Torah it says, “Thou shalt not kill” but you lot are killing…
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: I thank you very much, thank you very, very much with regards to Davos being over. I will not return back to Davos again and make sure that you know this well.
You do not make room for me in this sphere to speak, Peres spoke for 25 minutes and you have allowed me to speak for 12 minutes which is not allowed.
King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam:
Saudi Arabia has awarded the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam (in 2010 – 1430 A.H). Abdullah al-Uthaymeen, the Secretary-General of the Award, stated that the selection committee to award the service of Islam, headed by the Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz has selected Erdogan for his constructive efforts in building the political office and administration in which he took charge of: “And from those positions he was the mayor of Istanbul, whereby he has earned pioneering achievements in its development.”
After taking charge of his country’s presidency in Turkey, he has become a famous statesman for his large successes and great attitudes; nationally, Islamically and globally. ”
He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Umm Al-Qura in Mecca in March 2011 in recognition of his efforts and outstanding work in the service of Islamic issues.
Erdogan and Gaddafi Award for Human Rights:
The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received in the 29th of November, 2010, the Gaddafi Human Rights prize in recognition of his courage in the cause of the Palestinian people, his leaning towards the poor and simple people, and for his continuing struggle for the respect of the peoples’ rights, cultures and values. The following is the text of the patent:
Based on Law No. 10 in the year 1989, the establishment of the Gaddafi Award for Human Rights, and to the political regime of the award is based on principles of common humanity in order to create a more just, solidarity and peaceful world. The Sate People’s Committee of the Gaddafi Award for Human Rights have decided to grant the prize for 2010 to His Excellency Mr. “Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey. This is in tribute to his courage in the cause of the Palestinian people, his outstanding efforts and wisdom in establishing the values of justice, development and leaning towards to the poor and simple people; and in recognition of his ongoing struggle for the sake of respecting the peoples’ rights, cultures and values.
– Encyclopaedia of Knowledge
– Who is Rajab Tayeb Erdogan? (BBC: 11/04/2002).
– Rajab Tayeb Erdogan (Al Jazeera Net: 13/11/2006)
– Islamic News Agency (News)
– Kenana Online June 12, 2010
– Erdogan the Most Popular Politician in Turkey (Arab Media Network Perimeter: 11/18/2007)
– Erdogan in the Eyes of His Constituents (The Great Teacher) and (Super Star) – By Thomas Seibert (al-Qantarah newspaper, 6/12/2011)
– Biography of the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Nashwan News: 06/05/2010)
– Erdogan and the Project of the Crazy Century – By: Ahmed Saleh Al Halabi (Seminar)
– Erdogan the Bread Seller Who Changed the Face of Turkey (Al-Arab Online: 11/6/2011)
– The Economic Miracle of Erdogan’s Party – By: Ernest Khoury (newspaper article, January 25, 31 May 2011)
– About Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Al-Sabeel: June 9, 2011)
– Erdogan’s Title as Sheik when a child… And Has Gained Popularity as an Official and Head (Al-Rukn Al-Akhdar: 03/21/2011)
– Tayyip Erdogan, Who Won with Love… (Youth Website)
– Hshd.net, September 13, 2010
– The Libyan National Newspaper 11/29/2010
– Dimensions of Erdogan’s Withdrawal from the Davos Conference (an episode from the program Behind the News ‘Maa Waraa’a Al-Khabar’ – Al Jazeera Net 30/01/2009)