Erdogan, Recep Tayyip

Erdoğan, Recep Tayyip

(rĕjĕp` tīyĭp` ûr`dōän), 1954–, Turkish politician. He was educated at Marmara Univ., where he met Necmettin ErbakanErbakan, Necmettin
, 1926–2011, Turkish politician. Trained as an engineer, he received a doctorate in Germany and worked there for several years. In 1970 he establishedan Islamist political party, which advocated Turkey's return to religious values and practices.
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, who went on to head the Islamist Welfare party and serve (1996–7) as prime minister. Active in the Welfare party by the mid-1980s, Erdoğan was elected mayor of İstanbul in 1994. In 1998 he was convicted of inciting religious hatred for reading a poem with martial Islamic images; he served four months in prison. In 2001, Erdoğan and others founded the Justice and Development party (AKP) as the successor to the banned (1998) Welfare party. In the 2002 elections the new party won an overwhelming majority in parliament, but Erdoğan was banned from running because of his 1998 conviction. After the constitution was amended, Erdoğan was elected (2003) and became prime minister. In 2007 and 2011 the AKP again won control of parliament. Erdoğan moved from the strongly Islamist positions he once espoused to more mainstream conservative positions, and his government pursued some reforms required for Turkey to enter the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
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. In 2010 his government won approval of constitutional amendments that reduced the autocratic aspects of the military-drafted constitution that was adopted in 1982. He also was criticized, however, for attempting to use the justice system to stifle critics in the press, academia, politics, and business. In 2014 he became Turkey's first directly elected president; because of the AKP's self-imposed limit of three terms for its parliamentary deputies, he could not serve as prime minister after the next election. He subsequently pushed for constitutional changes to establish a presidential system of government, and forced (2016) the resignation of Ahmet DavutoğluDavutoğlu, Ahmet,
1959–, Turkish politician. Before entering politics, he taught political science and international relations at Marmara Univ., Beykent Univ., and other institutions.
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, his successor as prime minister, to install a loyalist, Binali Yıldırım, and effectively concentrate power in the presidency. A July, 2016, coup attempt against his government by some in military failed when Turks widely opposed it, and led to actions against thousands of real and perceived opponents that continued through 2017. In early 2017 he secured the adoption of constitutional changes establishing a strong presidential form of government.