It would not be an exaggeration to say Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is currently one of the world’s most charismatic leaders. Any conversation about Turkey always includes a reference to Mr Erdoğan – such is the growing cult of personality – and in a country which reveres great leaders, i.e. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it is not surprising either.
The 61-year-old Turkish president has taken Turkey forward economically, politically to an extent, and severed the power of the army within politics. It is not hyperbolic to say the military wielded too much power in Turkish politics.
Turkey has a history of military coups and its most recent – the postmodern military coup, so called because there was no direct involvement by the army – was in 1997. For 18 years, Turkish politics has remained comparatively steady, especially between 2002 and the years after when Mr Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won power.
Although critics believe that has changed recently, there were concerns relating to Mr Erdogan’s Islamism long before the Gezi protests.
Mr Erdoğan is a polarising figure. For many, especially in the more conservative heartlands of Anatolia, he has brought better healthcare, given less secular Turks more representation and brought much needed improvement to infrastructure.
Not since Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, has a figure dominated Turkish politics for so long. Now there is a growing atmosphere Turkish citizens cannot insult their leader – recently, Mr Erdoğan’s critics and opponents are dealt with harshly.
Full article: Turkey’s most powerful president since Ataturk: A profile of Recep Tayyip Erdogan (The Telegraph)