recep tayyip erdogan bio

Recep Tayyip Erdogan



justice analyst elite/elitist
portion affair (2) reflection (2)
humble roots (2) transform
mega chain (2) infrastructure
crisis council keep it that way
income in line (2) rely/relied
proud unseat foundation
secular embrace discriminate
incite overturn wear it on his sleeve
vote stay on constitution
minus overhaul parliamentary
plus tolerate checks and balances
reform initially resources
critics dissent executive (2)
coup root out accumulate
fail perceive driving force
devout inspire opponent
deny divisive undeniably
secular apply (3) fault line (2)
generate turn away



Video: Recep Tayyip Erdogan



When you think of Turkey today, you probably think of this man: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with his Justice and Development Party, the AKP.

So, just how has he done it?

Asli Aydintasbas is a journalist and analyst on Turkish affairs.

Asli Aydintasbas, Journalist: “Erdogan is a man of the people, he is not an elitist. There is a certain portion of the population sees in Erdogan his or her own reflection.”

From humble roots, he’s transformed Turkey: he’s brought jobs, economic growth, and a chain of mega infrastructure projects, even if 2018 brought inflation and a currency crisis,

Asli Aydintasbas, European Council on Foreign Relations: “High growth is the government’s economic mission. But to do so, they’ve relied on big infrastructure projects and construction.

These projects are all great, and they do generate jobs and income.

But the problem is, does Turkey have enough resources to finance these things?”

President Erdogan is also a proud Islamist, and the Turkish leader who has unseated the Republic’s secular foundations. Erdogan has won over many socially conservative Turks.

Soner Cagaptay is an author and expert on Turkish politics.

Soner Cagaptay, The Washington Institute: “Erdogan has embraced more and more political Islam in the way he governs the country. Turkey went form being a country that discriminates against people who wear religion on their sleeves to a country that discriminates against people who do not wear religion on their sleeves.”

In fact, Erdogan went to prison for his Islamist politics in the late 1990s. While mayor of Istanbul, he read an Islamist poem at a public event, and a court jailed him for “inciting hatred”.

But he’s also overturned the Turkish political system: When party rules meant he couldn’t stay on as prime minister in 2014, re ran as president — and won.

And when the presidency didn’t seem powerful enough, he just got Turkey to vote to change his powers.

Asli Aydintasbas, European Council on Foreign Relations: “Constitutional change was a major overhaul of Turkey’s governance system from a sort of a European-style parliamentary regime, according to government officials, to US-style executive presidency.

But in reality it’s a US-style executive presidency, minus checks and balances.

Initially, Erdogan’s political reforms brought Turkey more in line with the European Union, and closer to the West.

But critics say, as he’s accumulated more power, he’s grown intolerant of dissent, turning away from the West.

After a failed coup in 2016, Erdogan placed the country in a state of emergency to root out perceived enemies.

Armed with extraordinary powers, he ordered mass arrests of activists, journalists and political opponents.

Inspiring devout loyalty and intense hatred in equal measure, Erdogan is undeniably divisive.

Soner Cagaptay, The Washington Institute: “Fault lines of left and right, and secularists and Islamists, none of these apply any more. There is only one fault line in Turkish politics: it’s whether somebody loves Erdogan or doesn’t like Erdogan.”

Love him or hate him, Erdogan has been a driving force behind Turkey’s transformation, and he’s doing whatever he can to keep it that way.

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1. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is arrogant and vane, according to his supporters. True or false? Does he come from a wealthy background?

2. Has the economy boomed or stagnated under Erdogan’s leadership? What has been the hallmark of Turkey’s economic growth, according to the analyst?

3. What is Erdogan’s main ideology or political platform? Who is his constituency or base of support?

4. The Turkish government has always been Islamic-oriented. Is this correct or incorrect?

5. Has Erdogan’s powers increased, decreased or remained the same? How did it change? What were the watershed events?

6. Has the EU and West changed their attitude towards Erdogan?

7. Everyone in Turkey loves and supports him. Is this right or wrong?


A. My country trades extensively with Turkey. Yes or no? What sort of things are imported and exported?

B. What does the local and national media say about Erdogan and Turkey?

C. Is Erdogan unique or are there others like him?

D. What may happen in the short, medium and long-term future?

E. Should the West and Turkish people do anything?


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