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ΑρχικήEnglish EditionRecep Tayyip Erdoğan: A Short Biography of the Thinnest-Skinned President in the...

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: A Short Biography of the Thinnest-Skinned President in the Global Political Stage

By Sophia Mavrou,

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known to all the journalists, reporters, politicians, the public, geopoliticians, and armies, regardless if they are in favor of him or not. He was welcomed into this world on February 26, 1954, in Rize, Istanbul. His parents’ names are Tenzile Erdoğan and Ahmed Erdoğan and have both left this world in 2011 and 1988 correspondingly. He is married and has two sons and two daughters. At large, almost all of his relatives, including his son Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, his brother, Mustafa Erdoğan, his brother-in-law, Ziya İlgen, his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, are interlocked with politics and finances, as well as involved in scandals with regard to unjust possession of money.

Politics attract his attention from a very young age. At the age of 15, he attended his political party’s youth branch and has not quit since then. Along with politics he was engaged in football from 1969 to 1982. His passion for politics did not occur just in theory, but he has served as chairman of the Beyoğlu Youth Branch of the National Salvation Party (MSP) and later of the Istanbul Youth Branches of the same party. After the military coup in 1980, when all political parties were shut down, Erdoğan returned to politics on March 27, 1994, as an elected mayor of Istanbul. Against expectations, in the 90s’ Erdoğan worked to increase the participation of women and young people in politics. While he served as mayor some of the issues which he mitigated are the water shortage problem, the garbage problem, and the city’s traffic.

Image source: lepoint.fr

A few years later, in 1998, he was imprisoned for “inciting religious hatred” among the masses and spent four months in prison. After his release, the public welcomed him back triumphantly. That is, they appointed him on March 15, 2003, the Prime Minister of Turkey as the leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Since then, he has been elected continuously in 2007, in 2011, in August 2014 he became Turkey’s first popularly-elected president and he secured the Prime Minister’s chair again in the 2018 elections. Following the data, it can be perceived that he is the favorite of the Turkish.

Consistent with the Islamist ideology, he characterizes himself as a conservative democrat, who advocates for Neo-Ottomanism (the glorification of the Ottoman Empire) and Turkish nationalism. He is skeptical when it comes to western ideologies and frameworks and he usually overlooks western warnings pompously. On top of that, the Turkish President has criminalized insulting himself. The Turkish judicial system has handed out over 3,800 prison sentences in the last 4 years. Although human rights organizations have called on Turkey to end prosecutions for such reasons, Erdoğan seems indifferent. A total of 36,066 people faced a criminal investigation in 2019 for allegedly insultingErdoğan. Many of the supporters of Erdoğan admitted that such moves are not aligned with a democratic and liberal nation and they initiate to make arrangements with their eyes on the prize; the overthrow of Erdoğan.

In 2018, a team of commandos raided the hotel where the Turkish President and his family were vacationing so as to murder Erdoğan. The failed attempt resulted in sentences to life in prison and an overall hatred for the commandos. The thesis of the government was characterized by statements like; “We will make them beg. We will stuff them into holes, they will suffer such punishment in those holes that they will never see God’s sun as long as they breathe,” and “they will not hear a human voice again. ‘Kill us’ they will beg.” The coup was attributed to the USA and over 60,000 soldiers, police officers, judges, prosecutors, teachers, and other civil servants have been dismissed from their jobs or arrested with the excuse of having any kind of link with America.

One of the 11 fugitive commandos is escorted as he arrives at police headquarters in Muğla. Photograph: Kenan Gürbüz/Reuters, Image Source: theguardian.com

Erdoğan struggles to enter his country into the European Union for the past couple of years. Yet, incidents such as those mentioned above, his decisions, his attitudes, and his country’s present financial, cultural, and political circumstances render him more and more distanced from European ideals.

  • Bechev, Dimitar, “Turkey under Erdogan: How a Country Turned from Democracy and the West”, Yale University Press, 22.02.2022

  • Turkey arrests 11 soldiers over alleged Erdoğan kidnap bid. theguardian.com. Available here 



Sophia Mavrou
Sophia Mavrou
She was born in Thessaloniki in 2003 and she is an undergraduate student of English Language and Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her passions are fashion and interior design. She prefers a period movie over everything else. She is fond of learning new things and she imagines herself living among a field of children and dogs by the age of 40.