146 Facts About Recep Tayyip Erdogan


Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born on 26 February 1954 and is a Turkish politician serving as the 12th and current president of Turkey since 2014.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously served as prime minister of Turkey from 2003 to 2014 and as mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan founded the Justice and Development Party in 2001, leading it to election victories in 2002,2007, and 2011 general elections before being required to stand down upon his election as president in 2014.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan later returned to the AKP leadership in 2017 following the constitutional referendum that year.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was later stripped of his position, banned from political office, and imprisoned for four months for inciting religious hatred, due to his recitation of a poem by Ziya Gokalp.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan subsequently abandoned openly Islamist politics, establishing the moderate conservative AKP in 2001, which he went on to lead to a landslide victory in 2002.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the AKP to two more election victories in 2007 and 2011.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan won two successful constitutional referendums in 2007 and 2010.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule has been marked with increasing authoritarianism, expansionism, censorship and banning of parties or dissent.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan supported the 2017 referendum which changed Turkey's parliamentary system into a presidential system, thus setting for the first time in Turkish history a term limit for the head of government.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's tribe is originally from Adjara, a region in Georgia.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan spent his early childhood in Rize, where his father was a captain in the Turkish Coast Guard.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan worked as a street vendor selling simit, wearing a white gown and selling the simit from a red three-wheel cart with the rolls stacked behind glass.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a member of the Community of Iskenderpasa, a Turkish Sufistic community of Naqshbandi tariqah.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan graduated from Kasimpasa Piyale primary school in 1965, and Imam Hatip school, a religious vocational high school, in 1973.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan studied the Qur'an at an Imam Hatip, where his classmates began calling him "hoca".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a meeting of the nationalist student group National Turkish Student Union, who sought to raise a conservative cohort of young people to counter the rising movement of leftists in Turkey.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan won first place in a poetry-reading competition organized by the Community of Turkish Technical Painters, and began preparing for speeches through reading and research.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to pursue advanced studies at Mekteb-i Mulkiye, but Mulkiye accepted only students with regular high school diplomas, and not Imam Hatip graduates.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was then admitted to Eyup High School, a regular state school, and eventually received his high school diploma from Eyup.

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In 1976, Recep Tayyip Erdogan engaged in politics by joining the National Turkish Student Union, an anti-communist action group.

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In 1983, Recep Tayyip Erdogan followed most of Necmettin Erbakan's followers into the Islamist Welfare Party.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the party's Beyoglu district chair in 1984, and in 1985 he became the chair of the Istanbul city branch.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan entered the parliamentairy by-elections of 1986 as a 6th district candidate of Istanbul, but gained no seat as his party ended as the fifth largest party in the by-elections.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected to parliament in 1991, but was barred from taking his seat due to preferential voting.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a 40-year-old dark horse candidate who had been mocked by the mainstream media and treated as a country bumpkin by his opponents.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was pragmatic in office, tackling many chronic problems in Istanbul including water shortage, pollution and traffic chaos.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan changed the public buses to environmentally friendly ones.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan took precautions to prevent corruption, using measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's two-billion-dollar debt and invested four billion dollars in the city.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened up City Hall to the people, gave out his e-mail address and established municipal hot lines.

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In December 1997 in Siirt, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recited a poem from a work written by Ziya Gokalp, a pan-Turkish activist of the early 20th century.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan had appealed for the sentence to be converted to a monetary fine, but it was reduced to 4 months instead.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was transferred to Pinarhisar prison in Kirklareli.

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The day Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to prison, he dropped an album called This Song Doesn't End Here.

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In 2013, Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Pinarhisar prison again for the first time in fourteen years.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was member of political parties that kept getting banned by the army or judges.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister in March 2003 after the Gul government ended his political ban.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on 24 April 2007 that the party had nominated Abdullah Gul as the AKP candidate in the presidential election.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the event that took place during the ill-fated Presidential elections a few months earlier as a part of the general election campaign of his party.

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In 2009, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government announced a plan to help end the quarter-century-long Turkey–Kurdistan Workers' Party conflict that had cost more than 40,000 lives.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "We took a courageous step to resolve chronic issues that constitute an obstacle along Turkey's development, progression and empowerment".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government.

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In 2013 the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan began a peace process between the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Turkish Government, mediated by parliamentarians of the Peoples' Democratic party.

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed multiple times that Turkey would acknowledge the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as genocide only after a thorough investigation by a joint Turkish-Armenian commission consisting of historians, archaeologists, political scientists and other experts.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan added: "This issue cannot be considered at historical level with Turks, who themselves politicized the problem".

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In 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the tearing-down of the 33 meter tall Statue of Humanity, a Turkish–Armenian friendship monument in Kars, which was commissioned in 2006 and represented a metaphor of the rapprochement of the two countries after many years of dispute over the events of 1915.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan justified the removal by stating that the monument was offensively close to the tomb of an 11th-century Islamic scholar, and that its shadow ruined the view of that site, while Kars municipality officials said it was illegally erected in a protected area.

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On 23 April 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office issued a statement in nine languages, offering condolences for the mass killings of Armenians and stating that the events of 1915 had inhumane consequences.

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In protest, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recalled the Turkish ambassador from the Vatican, and summoned the Vatican's ambassador, to express "disappointment" at what he called a discriminatory message.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan later stated "we don't carry a stain or a shadow like genocide".

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In 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government made legal reforms to return properties of Christian and Jewish minorities which were seized by the Turkish government in the 1930s.

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In 2002, Recep Tayyip Erdogan inherited a Turkish economy that was beginning to recover from a recession as a result of reforms implemented by Kemal Dervis.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan supported Finance Minister Ali Babacan in enforcing macro-economic policies.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan tried to attract more foreign investors to Turkey and lifted many government regulations.

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In 2003, Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government pushed through the Labor Act, a comprehensive reform of Turkey's labor laws.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan increased the budget of the Ministry of Education from 7.

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The HSYK said Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to fill the vacant posts with his own appointees.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was accused of creating a rift with Turkey's highest court of appeal, the Yargitay, and high administrative court, the Danistay.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the constitution gave the power to assign these posts to his elected party.

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In May 2007, the head of Turkey's High Court asked prosecutors to consider whether Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be charged over critical comments regarding the election of Abdullah Gul as president.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ruling was "a disgrace to the justice system", and criticized the Constitutional Court which had invalidated a presidential vote because a boycott by other parties meant there was no quorum.

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The move, which Recep Tayyip Erdogan called one of the most radical reforms ever, was passed with fierce opposition.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan is co-founder of United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.

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When Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power, he continued Turkey's long ambition of joining the European Union.

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Turkey, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made many strides in its laws that would qualify for EU membership.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was named "The European of the Year 2004" by the newspaper European Voice for the reforms in his country in order to accomplish the accession of Turkey to the European Union.

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In May 2004, Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish Prime Minister to visit Greece since 1988, and the first to visit the Turkish minority of Thrace since 1952.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan should apologize for calling on school children to re-occupy eastern Turkey.

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Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan was named by the Bush Administration as a part of the "coalition of the willing" that was central to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government fostered economic and political relations with Irbil, and Turkey began to consider the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq as an ally against Maliki's government.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Israel on 1 May 2005, a gesture unusual for a leader of a Muslim majority country.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was interrupted by the moderator while he was responding to Peres.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned the raid, describing it as "state terrorism", and demanded an Israeli apology.

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In February 2013, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Zionism a "crime against humanity", comparing it to Islamophobia, antisemitism, and fascism.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan later retracted the statement, saying he had been misinterpreted.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was trying to "cultivate a favorable relationship with whatever government would take the place of Assad".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan had made his first official visit to Egypt on 12 September 2011, accompanied by six ministers and 200 businessmen.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Egypt was met with much enthusiasm by Egyptians.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was later honored in Tahrir Square by members of the Egyptian Revolution Youth Union, and members of the Turkish embassy were presented with a coat of arms in acknowledgment of the Prime Minister's support of the Egyptian Revolution.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in a 2011 interview that he supported secularism for Egypt, which generated an angry reaction among Islamic movements, especially the Freedom and Justice Party, which was the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the sit-in dispersals conducted by Egyptian police on 14 August 2013 at the Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares, where violent clashes between police officers and pro-Morsi Islamist protesters led to hundreds of deaths, mostly protesters.

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In July 2014, one year after the removal of Mohamed Morsi from office, Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as an "illegitimate tyrant".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the oath of office on 28 August 2014 and became the 12th president of Turkey.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated his intention to pursue a more active role as president, such as utilising the President's rarely used cabinet-calling powers.

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The political opposition has argued that Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue to pursue his own political agenda, controlling the government, while his new Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu would be docile and submissive.

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On 1 July 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was named the AKP's presidential candidate in the Turkish presidential election.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's candidacy was announced by the Deputy President of the AKP, Mehmet Ali Sahin.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech after the announcement and used the 'Recep Tayyip Erdogan logo' for the first time.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the President of Turkey in the first round of the election with 51.

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Incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his candidacy for the People's Alliance on 27 April 2018.

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The result was seen as a huge blow to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had once said that if his party 'lost Istanbul, we would lose Turkey.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received criticism for the construction of a new official residence called the Presidential Complex, which takes up approximately 50 acres of Ataturk Forest Farm in Ankara.

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However, upon assuming the presidency, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the palace would become the new Presidential Palace, while the Cankaya Mansion will be used by the Prime Minister instead.

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On 29 October 2014, Erdogan was due to hold a Republic Day reception in the new palace to commemorate the 91st anniversary of the Republic of Turkey and to officially inaugurate the Presidential Palace.

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On 1 July 2020, in a statement made to his party members, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the government would introduce new measures and regulations to control or shut down social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Netflix.

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On 20 July 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared the state of emergency, citing the coup d'etat attempt as justification.

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At the time of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's successful passing of the most recent legislation silencing his opposition, United States President Donald Trump called Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him for his "recent referendum victory".

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On 29 April 2017 Recep Tayyip Erdogan's administration began an internal Internet block of all of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia site via Turkey's domestic Internet filtering system.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused those who signed the petition of "terrorist propaganda", calling them "the darkest of people".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for action by institutions and universities, stating, "Everyone who benefits from this state but is an enemy of the state must be punished without further delay".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the academics would pay the price for "falling into a pit of treachery".

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On 8 July 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked 18,000 officials for alleged ties to US based cleric Fethullah Gulen, shortly before renewing his term as an executive president.

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In January 2017, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Northern Cyprus is "out of the question" and Turkey will be in Cyprus "forever".

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In September 2020, Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his government's support for Azerbaijan following clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces over a disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

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In May 2022, Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced his opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, accusing the two countries of tolerating groups which Turkey classifies as terrorist organizations, including the Kurdish militant groups PKK and YPG and the supporters of Fethullah Gulen.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that Greece will pay a "heavy price" if Turkey's gas exploration vessel – in what Turkey said are disputed waters – is attacked.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan deemed the readmission of Greece into the military alliance NATO a mistake, claiming they were collaborating with terrorists.

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In February 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed Turkish support of the Republic of Macedonia's position during negotiations over the Macedonia naming dispute saying that Greece's position is wrong.

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In March 2018, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj for dismissing his Interior Minister and Intelligence Chief for failing to inform him of an unauthorized and illegal secret operation conducted by the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey on Kosovo's territory that led to the arrest of six people allegedly associated with the Gulen movement.

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In Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdogan organised and attended a donors conference to assist Albania that included Turkish businessmen, investors and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

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In December 2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a warning to Donald Trump, after the US President acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, "Jerusalem is a red line for Muslims", indicating that naming Jerusalem as Israel's capital would alienate Palestinians and other Muslims from the city, undermining hopes at a future capital of a Palestinian State.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Israel–UAE peace agreement, stating that Turkey was considering suspending or cutting off diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates in retaliation.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan then filed a criminal complaint against French magazine Le Point after it accused him of conducting ethnic cleansing in the area.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that Turkey might consider joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation instead of the European Union.

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In 2009, Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused China of "genocide" against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, but later changed his rhetoric.

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In June 2017 during a speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the isolation of Qatar as "inhumane and against Islamic values" and that "victimising Qatar through smear campaigns serves no purpose".

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In September 2017, Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the persecution of Muslims in Myanmar and accused Myanmar of "genocide" against the Muslim minority.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the US behavior will force Turkey to look for new friends and allies.

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In September 2020, Biden demanded that Recep Tayyip Erdogan "stay out" of the Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, in which Turkey has supported the Azeris.

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In 2016, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko that Turkey would not recognize the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea; calling it "Crimea's occupation".

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his stance on Crimea in 2022 saying that international law requires that Russia must return Crimea to Ukraine.

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Suleyman Soylu, Minister of Labor in Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, accused the US of planning a coup to oust Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was accused by his critics of having a 'soft corner' for ISIS.

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However, after the attempted coup, Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the Turkish military into Syria to combat ISIS and Kurdish militant groups.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critics have decried purges in the education system and judiciary as undermining the rule of law however Recep Tayyip Erdogan supporters argue this is a necessary measure as Gulen-linked schools cheated on entrance exams, requiring a purge in the education system and of the Gulen followers who then entered the judiciary.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used this consensus to remove Gulen's followers from the bureaucracy, curtail their role in NGOs, Turkey's Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Turkish military, with 149 Generals discharged.

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Early during his premiership, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was praised as a role model for emerging Middle Eastern nations due to several reform packages initiated by his government which expanded religious freedoms and minority rights as part of accession negotiations with the European Union.

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In 2019, Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly recited Ziya Gokalp's Soldier's Prayer poem, similar to how he had done in 1997.

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In 2015, Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a statement in which he endorsed the old Ottoman term kulliye to refer to university campuses rather than the standard Turkish word kampus.

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Many critics have thus accused Recep Tayyip Erdogan of wanting to become an Ottoman sultan and abandon the secular and democratic credentials of the Republic.

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When pressed on this issue in January 2015, Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied these claims and said that he would aim to be more like Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom rather than like an Ottoman sultan.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has served as the de facto leader of Turkey since 2002.

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Kilicdaroglu responded that political tensions would cease to exist if Recep Tayyip Erdogan stopped making his polarising speeches for three days.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Gulen of co-ordinating a "parallel state" within the judiciary in an attempt to topple him from power.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan then removed or reassigned several judicial officials in an attempt to remove Gulen's supporters from office.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 'purge' was widely questioned and criticised by the European Union.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised for his politicisation of the media, especially after the 2013 protests.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan was criticised for not responding to the accusations of media intimidation, and caused international outrage after telling a female journalist to know her place and calling her a 'shameless militant' during his 2014 presidential election campaign.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan tightened controls over the Internet, signing into law a bill which allows the government to block websites without prior court order on 12 September 2014.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government blocked Twitter and YouTube in late March 2014 following the release of a recording of a conversation between him and his son Bilal, where Erdogan allegedly warned his family to 'nullify' all cash reserves at their home amid the 2013 corruption scandal.

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan has undertaken a media campaign that attempts to portray the presidential family as frugal and simple-living; their palace electricity-bill is estimated at $500,000 per month.

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When visiting the city in 2011, Recep Tayyip Erdogan deemed the statue a "freak", and months later it was demolished.

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Aksoy sued Recep Tayyip Erdogan for "moral indemnities", although his lawyer said that his statement was a critique rather than an insult.

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However, in 2017 Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that empowering LGBT people in Turkey was "against the values of our nation".

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