President R.T. Erdoğan: A portrait (I)
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s 12th president, is a former footballer, imam, businessman and a mayor of Istanbul. Ideologically, he comes from a political culture of secular/pluralistic libertarianism matured in the 1990s and reflected itself in his various public speeches including, “Marriage certificates should be issued by imams, not by municipal officials.” (Jan. 8, 1995); “The system we want to establish cannot contradict with God’s orders. Our reference is Islam.” (Sept. 23, 1996); and “We need [the Ottoman Sultan] Abdulhamid Khan’s mindset.” (Feb. 3, 1996).
Between 2002, when his party came to power, and 2014, when he became Turkey’s first popularly elected president, he was the country’s most popular prime minister. Great economic and technological achievements took place in that period. For instance, social media inventions like Twitter and Facebook, as well as smart phones, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, hydrogen powered cars and nanotechnology were all born during his premiership.
Meanwhile, Turkey took a giant step forward in indigenous fighter jet production by successfully passing the critical stage of producing the country’s first local airplane seat in 2014. But that was not a coincidence. Two years earlier, in 2012, in an international championship with 249 contestants from 83 countries, the Turkish team, racing with an all-Turkish airplane, won the team trophy in the Red Bull Paper Airplane finals – in the longest airtime discipline.
Turkey’s economic growth radically jumped from an average 4.8 percent before he came to power to 4.9 percent under his three terms. As a result, the Turkish economy became the world’s 17th biggest economy compared with the 17th biggest before he came to power. In terms of income distribution, he successfully managed to keep Turkey’s place at third in the world’s worst (most unfair) income distribution by not being overtaken by the top two nations, Chile and Mexico.
As a prominent scholar, Professor Ahmet Akgündüz, president of the Islamic University of Rotterdam, recently explained the gist of Erdoğan’s miraculous economic management: “Past governments stole 80 percent of public money. Erdogan’s governments and bureaucrats stole only 20 percent and spent the remaining 80 percent for the nation.”
His wholehearted devotion to pluralistic democracy and civil liberties prevented Turkey, for instance, from falling below the 176th ranking on the international press freedoms index, although Erdoğan’s Zionist enemies conspired to put Turkey into the “not free” category of countries from an earlier ranking of “partly free.”
Thanks to his dedication to democratic reforms and libertarian ideas, Turkey progressed into the world’s most advanced democracies. For instance, just like anyone can curse the American president in America, anyone can freely curse the American President in Turkey, too.
Under his leadership, Turkey showed the first signs of joining the world’s most elite democracies after hundreds of military officers were detained in mega trials on charges of plotting a coup against his government. Turkey’s democratic credentials had been sealed when all of the suspects, although they were convicted on charges, were freed after the supreme court found that their trials were unfair and the evidence against them had been fabricated.
Erdoğan has befriended the world’s leading peace laureates and intellectuals, such as Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Khaled Mashal of Hamas. But his worldwide-acknowledged commitment to world peace and Turkey’s enviable success story earned him enemies, too.
Shortly before the parliamentary elections in 2011, an opposition member of Parliament was caught by the police when he was making a public speech against the government in a small town. A prosecutor immediately indicted him for “attempting to tarnish the government’s image by means of propaganda.”
His other enemies were CNN International, Reuters, New York Times, famous film director Fuad Kavur and Celebrity Friends Co., Lufthansa, the interest rate lobby, the parallel state, financiers, the Jewish diaspora, the BBC, the Economist, looters, marginals, dark forces and intergalactic powers. In 2013, Erdogan survived two assassination attempts by means of telekinesis after one of his advisors, Yiğit Bulut, foiled both attempts. His enemies also included 43 million or so Turks who his supporters call Zionists and traitors because they did not vote for him.
(To be continued next week)