Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Personal life and education
Erdoğan was born in Constantinople. His family has descended from Adjara Georgian immigrants who settled from Batumi to Rize. (He announced his origins during his visit to Georgia in 2004.) Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize where his family had settled, before returning to Istanbul at the age of 13. After graduating from a religious high school İmam Hatip school he studied management at Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences (İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi). Erdoğan played semi-professional football in a local neighbourhood club for 16 years.reference required
Mayor of Istanbul 1994
As mayor of Istanbul, renamed tram cars with his initials (RTE) and bought a ferry named "Recep Tayyip Erdogan". These vehicles are still in use today.reference required
Erdogan also condoned the building of unlicenced houses resulting in massive gecekondus (ghettos) surrounding the town. Their inhabitants repaid him in votes.reference required
Erdoğan's Islamist sympathies earned him a conviction in 1998. As Mayor of Istanbul, Erdoğan was the most prominent of 200 mayors and other local officials in Turkey; because he was a national figure and hero to millions of Islamic-oriented voters, his case drew considerable attention.
In 1997, the Welfare Party was declared unconstitutional and was shut down on the grounds of threatening the secular nature of the state. In 1998, Erdoğan become a constant speaker at the demonstrations held by his colleagues from the banned Welfare Party. Secularism in Turkey has been taken very seriously since the establishment of the state with Kemalist ideology as its guiding principle. In line with the Atatürk's Reforms, the Constitution of Turkey states that laïcité, social equality, and equality before law are the main and unchangeable characteristics of Turkey. Kemalist ideology also adopted the position of "public reason", which claimed that activities falling outside of the private sphere should be secular and no religious group should be given permission to dominate over other belief systems. Any activity or promotion of domination over other belief systems are felt to fall under the somewhat controversial concept of "incitement to religious hatred", which has been part of the Turkish constitution since its establishment. The "religious hatred" concept has been used against the movements that promoted the reestablishment of the abolished Ottoman Caliphate and Islamic fundamentalist positions. There is no question that Erdoğan is pro-Islamic (he calls himself a religious conservative) but the extent of his position towards the fundamentally secular nature of the state was called into question on 12 December, 1997 at a public meeting in Siirt in Eastern Anatolia. In his speech, Erdoğan identified Turkish society as having "two fundamentally different camps" – those who blindly follow the Atatürk's Reforms [seculars] and the Muslims who unite Islam with Sharia.
Erdoğan was tried and convicted of inciting "religious hatred" in 1998. He was sentenced to ten months' imprisonment of which he served four between March and July 1999.
Prime Ministership, 2002-2007
On 17 October, 2006, Prime Minister Erdoğan suffered a mild shock in public attributed to hypoglycemia, caused by a combination of intense work and Ramadan fasting. He was hospitalized but the doctors determined that he only needed a few days of rest and viewed his state of health as not being of serious concern. His transportation to the hospital became a phenomenon as well when the driver of his armoured vehicle accidentally locked the door to the vehicle leaving the keys inside. The security system of the vehicle locked all the doors with Erdoğan still inside, unconscious. A hammer was brought in from a nearby construction yard to break the bulletproof windows of the vehicle and rescue the Prime Minister.
- ↑ Kimlik Değişimi!," Milliyet, December 13 2005 (Turkish)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Profile: Recep Tayyip Erdogan. BBC News. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.
- ↑ Life story. AK Parti Official Web Site. Retrieved on 2008-08-29.
- ↑ "Recep Tayyip Erdoğan". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/913988/Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- ↑ "Turkey's charismatic pro-Islamic leader," BBC News, 4 November 2002
- ↑ Kinzer, Stephen (1998-04-05). "Turkey Secularists Take Their Battle Into Court". New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D03E4DC133AF936A35757C0A96E958260&sec=&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
- ↑ Barry M. Rubin; Political Parties in Turkey P.68
- ↑ "Erdoğan admitted to hospital," Turkish Daily News.