Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (; born 26 February 1954) has been Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003 and is chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti), which holds a majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Erdoğan served as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He graduated in 1981 from Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Commercial Sciences. Erdoğan was also a semi-professional footballer from 1969 to 1982.

Erdoğan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in the local elections of 27 March 1994. He was banned from office and sentenced to a ten-month prison term for reciting a poem during a public address in the province of Siirt in 1997. The poem was allegedly quoted from a book published by a state enterprise and one that had been recommended to teachers by the Ministry of Education. After less than four months in prison, Erdoğan established the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in 2001. From its first year, the AK Party became the largest publicly-supported political movement in Turkey. In the general election of 2002 the AK Party won nearly two-thirds of the seats in parliament, forming the first single-party government for 9 years.

As prime minister, Erdoğan implemented numerous reforms. 45 years after Turkey signed an Association Agreement with the EU, the negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU started during Erdoğan's tenure. Parallel to this, inflation, which had for decades adversely affected the country's economy, was brought under control and the Turkish Lira was re-valued. Interest rates were reduced and per capita income grew significantly. The AK party won the elections of 2007 making it the first time in 52 years that a party in power had increased its votes for a second term. In the 2011 general election, the AK Party was re-elected for a third term and Erdoğan remained Prime Minister.

Read more about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan:  Personal Life and Education, Early Political Career, Imprisonment in 1998, Prime Ministership, 2003–present

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