Erdogan, a story of success
Written by Dr. Ragheb Elsergany.. The story of Erdogan is of prominent figure that could never be ignored as he enjoyed word-wide fame.
In point of fact, Erdogan is a very affecting character. He was thought be many as a plain religious example out of his adherence to the teachings of Islam on one hand. On the other hand, many charged him of coarse secularism in the same point, however; it was a plain charge of absolute disbelief!
Many exalted his sense of nationalism and his love for his home, Turkey. Others charged Erdogan of treason in favor of Zionists and subordination to the West. A third party highly appreciated his economic progress for Turkey, however; some accused him of doing nothing to the Turkish economy that the successes he achieved are nothing but illusions misleading his people!
Erdogan is a character object to disagreement
Habitually, Dr. Ragheb, on comprehending the traits of one's character or examining a situation, I have to examine the first lines of his story.
The story of Erdogan is a profound one through the years as its roots extend to the Ottoman caliphate, while it experiences many variant stages, that’s is it contains situations of happiness and others of sorrow, success and failure, victory and defeat.
Erdogan; a birth of leader
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born in Istanbul, the Turkish capital on February 26, 1954. His family was poor. He spent his early childhood in Rize Province on the Black Sea border. His father was coast guard. When Erdogan reached the age of 13, his father decided to settle in Istanbul to improve his standard of living and secure a better future to his five children.
In Istanbul, Erdogan was enrolled to Hatip Lisesi Schools. He was nicknamed Sheikh Recep out of his religious sense and pity. Therefore, he took part in the classes of sheikh Asa`d Joshqun, head of the Naqshbandi order in Istanbul.
At the high school, Erdogan moved to Ayoub school where he practiced his concerns related to Turkey impressed by Islamic background consisted of his study for the sciences of Shari`ah.
During secondary education, Erdogan acted as pioneer in the various branches of the Turkish National Student Union.
Erdogan then moved to the university, where he joined the Faculty of Commerce and Economics at the University of Marmara in Istanbul. He continued his political activists where he became the head of the youth branch affiliated to the Islamic National Safety Party.
Erdogan Was characterized by strong and impressive character made him unique among his peers, along with his constant concern to the problems of the daily life of Turks, especially since Erdogan himself was forced to work in some humble activities such as selling lemonade and cookies in order to make money to help his father and to provide education expenses.
As well, Erdogan was known for his interest in sports since his early youth where he uses to practice football regularly during Undergraduate this phase in the life of Erdogan was the beginning of the fame of Erdogan and the appearance of his abilities and leadership skills among the cadres of the Islamic movement of Turkey.
Erdogan moved from the playgrounds of football to the fields of politics, and moved from the National Union of the Turkish Students to where he headed the youth department in the branch of the Party in Istanbul as he caught the attention of the Islamic leader Najm Ad-Din Erbakan who was in charge of Safety Party at that time.
Najm Ad-Din Erbakan and Erdogan met together where the latter won the confidence of the former. Meetings regularly joined them till the time when the Turkish military to stage a coup d'etat against in 1980. This in turn made Erdogan to witness closely the first confrontation between the Islamists and the military.
Three years after the military coup on April 24, 1983, most restrictions on political activity were cleared, and then the political parties were allowed to be reformed again. "The Islamic Welfare Party" was one of the parties that formed in this period.
Erdogan in "The Islamic Welfare Party"
As soon as "The Islamic Welfare Party" was publicly to light Erdogan joined it and very soon he became a leading figure in the party and the most powerful leader in Istanbul.
Just two years after, Erdogan headed a branch in the "Welfare Party" in Istanbul.
Uniquely, Erdogan managed the affairs of the "Welfare Party" branch in a way deemed a momentum for the party in Istanbul by the time.
Also, during this period, Erdogan became a member of the Central Council for the Welfare Party that matter allowed him to participate in decision-making. In the meantime, Erdogan was not isolated from for the care of leader Erbakan that he declared it that he holds Erdogan his successor; due to faith, resolve and sacrifice Erdogan characterized with. Moreover, strikingly, at this time, Erbakan was describing himself as realistic, while Erdogan is seen as inflexible and overenthusiastic.
Erdogan then became one of the prominent leaders of the Welfare Party, hence, the party nominated for the membership of the Turkish Parliament in 1991, but he could not win the seat. Yet, this failure did not discourage him from his reformatory course which crossed off the municipal boundaries of Beyoglu to spread in other districts of Istanbul.
Over days, Erdogan became very famous and known of hard work and concern for the demands of the public besides honesty.
This condition of Erdogan worked out through heading the office of municipality of Istanbul in 1994 under the chairmanship of mayor of Istanbul, the great historical and ancient city in the sight of Turks along with its historical and geographical importance in Turkey.
Erdogan; Mayor of Istanbul
Erdogan, through his genius management for human resources and financial affairs, provoked the potentials of people in Istanbul.
Erdogan once again retrieved their self confidence and their ability to promote their city. To illustrate, Erdogan eliminated the garbage problem for its bas impact both psychologically and hygienically. As well, he eliminated the air pollution problem in Istanbul which for long time disturbed its people.
Erdogan adopted many measures to wisely ensure the use of municipal funds. Firmly, Erdogan confronted corruption so that he settled the debts of Istanbul, which exceeded two billion dollars on holding the office Istanbul, however; he provided a surplus of cash invested in the favor of Istanbul amounted to four billion dollars.
Erdogan and imprisonment
Clearly visible are the meritorious works of Erdogan to Istanbul that is acknowledged by all even his politician opponents. This acknowledgment overreached the local level to the international one that Erdogan was honored by the United Nations for his meritorious works during his tenure for Istanbul.
It is astonishing that all the meritorious works of Erdogan that locally and internationally acknowledged have not satisfied the secular Turks as when Erdogan discussed one of their fundamentals in one of his speeches, they indifferently ousted him from his office.
In the course of a visit Erdogan paid to Siirt Province on 12/12/1997, he delivered a speech and chanted the following verses of poetry;
Our mosques; our barracks.
Our mosques, barracks, our domes, helmets.
Our minarets, bayonets, our soldiers, the worshipers.
This holly army guarding our sacred religion.
These verses caused Erdogan to be charged of instigation to the religious hatred, so the State Security Court in Dyar Bakr city sentenced him to one year imprisonment and deprivation of all political activities over the life.
Erdogan and the "Virtue Party" at odds.
On June 18, 1997 AD, the Turkish army executed what was called "white coup" which ended up with outlawing the Welfare Party. This stance was not a surprise for Islamists, however; they expected that at any moment. Thus, they put a project to found a party succeeds the Welfare Party in case it is dissolved. The new party was "The Virtue" where Rajai Kutan was elected to its presidency in December 1998.
Therefore, after Erdogan release from imprisonment that lasted four months due to political amnesty, he embarked on declaring his political project for change in Turkey which necessitates modification of the traditional old procedures that the Islamists adopted in Turkey.
The period after Erdogan released from prison was a new political start for him that he reconsidered many issues differently and had many objections to the way his mentor Erbakan adopts.
Then, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided in June 2001 to dissolve the Islamic "Virtue Party", on charges that it is a continuation of the Islamic "Welfare Party".
Erdogan, the leader of the youth, who are known in the Islamic movements as " Moderate Generation", inside the "Virtue Party" struggled a lot to rectify their ideas and limit their aspirations to avoid any internal clash among the Islamists.
Over time and aggravation of crises impeded Erbakan Movement, the youth of the movement began expressing dissatisfaction aiming at enabling them to present their own vision namely to change the strategy of the Movement on dealing with the Turkish state in all the political spectrum, especially the military, and that it is time to reduce the confrontational method adopted by the majors "elders" of the Movement on dealing with the military institution.
The "Welfare Party" was dissolved and the "Virtue Party" was formed adopted the approach of Erbakan after the "Moderate Generation" failed to head it. Throughout this period, these youth made no attempts of dissension.
Dissolving the "Virtue Party" made the youth more persuaded of the necessity to reconsider affairs by the Islamists in a way suits the Turkish circumstances, these youth were called in Turkey "The contemporary innovators".
The establishment of the "Justice and Development" Party.
Resolutely, Erdogan continued his attempts for reform. Erdogan was not alone that his veiled wife Amina, 1978 marriage consummation, who is adherent to the teachings of Islam joined him and his close fried `Abdullah Jaul as well.
Hence the establishment of this new generation led by the young leader Erdogan for a new party and they chose a redolent name the "Justice and Development" Party. On the other hand, the older generation established a new party called "Happiness" which adopted the approach of Erbakan in the same four parties that preceded it.
Actually, the dissident party of Erdogan confused the many, though its impacts overstepped the Turkish boundaries.
Any way and regardless of the conflict views over this point, truth be told, the lapsed years and the different situations made me assuredly claim that the example of the Turkish "Justice and Development" Party especially that of the leader Erdogan became a source of pride and esteem for every Muslim, not only in Turkey, however; overseas.
Turkey's state before Erdogan assuming power
Turkey witnessed the third millennium in deterioration affecting all sectors of the state, especially after the parliamentary session 1999 - 2002 was just like chaos. It was a state of continuous scandals and spread of corruption, as well as the economic situation approaches to bankruptcy which led to the collapse of Turkish stock market and the occurrence of a deep economic crisis in February 2001 as a result.
Aside from the problem of unemployment as one of the manifestations of the severe economic crisis, the headscarf issue was one of the hottest local issues at the Turkish political arena for the last twenty years of the last century, however; this issue had not been finally settled. Above and more, the Kurdish issue as one of the biggest problems faced by any Turkish Government, since the word "Kurds" is very embarrassing in Turkey.
As the internal conditions faced many serious challenges, there were many of the thorny issues of Foreign Affairs waiting for settlement; especially the issue of dealing and coordinating with the International Monetary Fund and the issue of joining the European Union, and Turkey's position towards the Iraqi-America crisis.
2002 elections and changing the political map of Turkey
The Turkish Parliamentary elections were held in November 3, 2002 AD and a big surprise took place, namely "Justice and Development" Party led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan - the former mayor of Istanbul, won a landslide victory that surpassed all optimistic expectations where it won 34.2% of the votes equivalent to 363 seats out of 550 in the Turkish parliament!.
What was the stance of Erdogan over the liability?.
"Justice and Development Party led by Erdogan took the advantage thoroughly that is he avoid all confrontations with the military and secularists, rather; he won their confidence the matter could not be secured under the leadership of Erbakan, the basic element to such conflict.
At the same time, Erdogan gave the priority to the relationship with Europe and the advancement of the Turkish economy and avoidance to provoke the conflict over some thorny issues; such as the veil, as one of the hottest debates between the Islamist and the secularists sponsored by the army. Accordingly, his first address after winning the elections stated that his party will abide by the principles of secularism provided in the Turkish Constitution.
And who does not understand the true state of Turkish affairs would misunderstand Erdogan.
Erdogan is a ware of the fact that he lives in a country full of contradictions that is Turkey is secular and Islamist, Ottoman and European, dictator and democratic, self-rule and military-rule, streets full of Islam rites and a constitution confronting it.
Erdogan began his first term of the Turkish government is determined to achieve a comprehensive renaissance in all aspects of life in Turkey. This is to establish his government on one hand, and to regain the Turkish esteem regionally and internationally on the other.
As a matter of fact, he succeeded in the first period clearly to achieve mutation came into view in many sectors of the Turkish state.
This success was not the spur of the moment, however; the fruits of efforts in the different sectors.
The secret of the great success achieved by Erdogan at this stage lies in four aspects that captured the concern of "Welfare and Justice" party;
First: improving the economic state
Second: political truce with all the elements of Turkish society and its political forces
Third: neutralizing the external powers through satisfactory speeches reassuring the international community, especially the United States of America and Europe
Fourth: re-consideration for the Turkish-Zionist relationship.
Parliamentary elections in 2007
the "Justice and Development" Party achieved a landslide victory in parliamentary elections that took place on July 22, 2007. it won 47% of the votes more than that of 2002 strikingly.
This in turn renewed the confidence of the Turkish people in the government of "Justice and Development" Party, its policies and trends, especially in light of the popularity of high participation rate of 85%.
This has enabled the "Justice and Development" Party to form a government alone, after holding 341 seats in the new Turkish parliament.
The reason for the decline in the number of seats of "justice and development" if compared to 2002 elections to the increase of the number of the representative parties in Parliament to three parties which are: "Republican People's Party" led by Deniz Baikal holding 119 seats, the " National Government" Party holding 70 seats and the "AKP" holding the majority, in addition to 24 seats for independents.
Immediately, Erdogan strengthened this victory through inciting Abdullah Gul – the close friend and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the first Government of Erdogan - to run for the presidency of Turkey immediately after the expiry of the Turkish President, scheduled for the end of August 2007, that is, after parliamentary elections one month only. This was the second strike directed to Ataturk regime in a short time.!
Abdullah Gul made the oath of office in August 28, 2007 to rank the 11th president for Turkey after winning the support of 337 deputies from the Turkish parliament on a historic occasion for his political background in the form of experienced Islamist in politics whether with his teacher Erbakan, or after joining Erdogan to establish the ruling "Justice and Development" Party.
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