Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of the heavy hand and the Islamist turn

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of the heavy hand and the Islamist turn

2023-05-28 19:54:53

Corruption scandals, massive protests, a coup, economic crisis and even an earthquake. At 69 years old and after two decades in power, Recep Tayyip Erdogan it has overcome many crises in which its political end was announced. But he will rule the country for 5 more years.

The Turkish president who has had the most power since Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk” founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 faces the second round of the presidential elections this Sunday.

The appointment with the polls once again certifies his capacity for political survival, since Erdogan arrives as a great favorite, after having touched the absolute majority in the first round, with 49.5% against his rival, the Social Democrat Kemal Kiliçdaroglu.

Born in Istanbul in 1954 into a modest family from the Black Sea mountains, Erdogan began his meteoric political career as mayor of Istanbul, between 1994 and 1998a position he held effectively and served as a springboard to become prime minister in 2003.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan will remain in power in Türkiye. AFP photo


Two years earlier, he had founded the Justice and Development party (AKP), an Islamist formation that inherited parties that had been outlawed under the strict secularism that governed Turkey, always monitored by the Army.

Erdogan himself went to jail in 1999 after reading in public a poem considered “Islamist” by the Prosecutor’s Office.

However, he was able to convince a large part of the media and politics, both in Turkey and in Europe, that the AKP was a transcript of the European Christian Democratic formationseffective in economic management and moderate in religion.

During the eleven years that Erdogan was head of government, and the nine that he has been president, his way of exercising power has become increasingly authoritarian and the religious content of his policies increasingly evident.

Still, with the economy soaring, Erdogan and his AKP amassed absolute majority after absolute majority during their first years in power, despite growing authoritarianism and the succession of corruption scandals.

In 2013, a series of mass protests, which lasted for weeks, made it clear that a large part of Turkish society, the most urban and secular, was tired of attacks on press freedom, of religious morality increasingly affecting more to daily life and authoritarian drift.

Celebrations in Istanbul for Erdogan's victory.  AFP photo

Celebrations in Istanbul for Erdogan’s victory. AFP photo

But in the face of conciliation attempts by other senior officials, such as then-President Abdullah Gül, Erdogan he opted for a strong hand and confrontation.

The coup attempt

His role as the country’s only strongman increased after the 2016 coup attempt and a year later with a constitutional reform that transformed Turkey into a presidential system and gave Erdogan enormous executive powers.

At the same time, he was breaking with many of those who accompanied him when he came to power and surrounding himself with a new, younger and more fawning team.

Gül and former Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, co-founders of the AKP, as well as former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, left their posts and the party due to disagreements with Erdogan, to the point that the latter two are allied Now with Kilicdaroglu.

In the past two years, Erdogan’s tendency to govern alone and decide everything has been noticed in the economyimposing a policy of reducing interest rates to encourage spending, production and employment, something that has contributed to the runaway inflation.

Now, with the lira at record lows against the dollar and the euro, unemployment at 22.5% and inflation at 45% (although independent economists put it at more than double), Erdogan resorts to inaugurations of infrastructure and presentations of locally designed and manufactured weapons to convince Turkey’s impoverished middle class of the country’s economic power.

Its last great test has been the earthquake that last February left more than 50,000 dead in the southeast of the country, which sparked criticism of the mismanagement of relief for victims and complaints of urban corruption that has allowed thousands of buildings to be erected without license.

However, although the votes for the AKP in the parliamentary elections fell in the affected regions, Erdogan has continued to reap a percentage of votes very similar to the one he obtained in the 2018 elections.

Source: EFE


look too

#Recep #Tayyip #Erdogan #president #heavy #hand #Islamist #turn


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick