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(Wikipedia) - Recep Tayyip Erdoğan   (Redirected from Erdogan) "Erdoğan" redirects here. For other people, see Erdoğan (name). Recep Tayyip Erdoğan MP 25th Prime Minister of TurkeyPresident Deputy Preceded by Leader of the Justice and Development Party Preceded by Member of Parliament for Istanbul Constituency Member of Parliament for Siirt Constituency Mayor of Istanbul Preceded by Succeeded by Personal details Born Political party Other political affiliations Spouse(s) Children Alma mater Religion Signature Website
Assumed office 14 March 2003
Ahmet Necdet Sezer Abdullah Gül
See list
  • Abdullah Gül (2003–2007) Cemil Çiçek (2007–2011) Hayati Yazıcı (2007–2009) Nazım Ekren (2007–2009) Ali Babacan (2009–) Bülent Arınç (2009–) Beşir Atalay (2011–) Bekir Bozdağ (2011–)
Abdullah Gül
Assumed office 14 August 2001
Office established
Assumed office 22 July 2007
1st electoral district
In office 9 March 2003 – 22 July 2007
Siirt Province
In office 27 March 1994 – 6 November 1998
Nurettin Sözen
Ali Müfit Gürtuna
(1954-02-26) 26 February 1954 (age 59) Istanbul, Turkey
Justice and Development Party (2001–present)
National Salvation Party (Before 1981) Welfare Party (1983–1998) Virtue Party(1998–2001)
Emine Gülbaran (1978–present)
Ahmet Burak Erdoğan Necmettin Bilal Esra Sümeyye
Marmara University
Sunni Islam
Prime Ministry of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan website
This article is part of a series on Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Gallery: Picture, Sound, Video
Early life and career · Electoral history First cabinet · Second cabinet · Third cabinet Civil–military ties · Foreign policy · Foreign trips · 2023 vision · 2013 protests in Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Turkish pronunciation: ; born 26 February 1954) is the 25th and current Prime Minister of Turkey, in office since 2003. He is also the chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which holds a majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Erdoğan served as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He graduated from an Imam Hatip school, an Islamic high school, before studying in Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Commercial Sciences, where he graduated in 1981. Erdoğan was also a semi-professional footballer from 1969 to 1982. Erdoğan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in the local elections of 27 March 1994. He was banned from office and sentenced to a ten-month prison term for reciting a poem during a public address in the province of Siirt in 1997. After less than four months in prison, Erdoğan established the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001. From its first year, the AKP became the largest publicly supported political movement in Turkey. In the general election of 2002 the AKP won 34% of the vote and nearly two-thirds of the seats in parliament, forming the first single-party government.

45 years after Turkey signed an Association Agreement with the EU, the negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU started during Erdoğan's tenure. Parallel to this, inflation, which had for decades adversely affected the country's economy, was brought under control and the Turkish Lira was re-valued. Interest rates were reduced and per capita income grew significantly.

His foreign policy vision is claimed to rest on Neo-Ottomanism, the policy according to which Turkey should maintain and increase its presence in the lands formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Under his premiership, the country has consolidated its position as a regional power with global ambitions.

The AKP won the elections of 2007 making it the first time in 52 years that a party in power had increased its votes for a second term. In the 2011 general election, the AKP was re-elected for a third term and Erdoğan remained Prime Minister.

May and June 2013 saw protests against what large sections of the Turkish public perceive as a growing authoritarianism of Erdogan and his government and his policies, starting from a small sit-in in Istanbul in defense of a city park. After the police's intense reaction with burning down the tents of the demonstrators, the protests spread all over Turkey. After the demonstrations began, the police continued with immense amounts of tear gas and water cannons to control and clear the demonstrations.

ContentsPersonal life and education Main article: Early life and career of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Erdoğan was born in the Kasımpaşa neighborhood of Istanbul, to a family that had moved there from Rize Province. He has said, I'm a Georgian too, my family is Georgian family, migrated from Batumi to Rize. However, lastly, Erdoğan explained his origin by referring to the archives of Ottoman Empire in a TV program on NTV in 2007, saying that Ben Müslümanım ve Türküm meaning I'm a Muslim and a Turk.

Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize, where his father was a member of the Turkish Coast Guard. The family returned to Istanbul when Erdoğan was 13 years old. As a teenager, he sold lemonade and sesame buns (simit) on the streets of Istanbul's rougher districts to earn extra money.

Brought up in an observant Muslim family, Erdoğan graduated from Kasımpaşa Piyale primary school in 1965 and from Istanbul Religious Vocational High School in 1973 (İmam Hatip school). He received his high school diploma from Eyüp High School. Erdoğan later studied Business Administration at the Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences, now known as Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences.

In his youth, Erdoğan played semi-professional football at a local club. Fenerbahçe wanted Erdogan to transfer to club, however, his father prevented it. The stadium of the local football club of the district he grew up in, Kasımpaşa S.K. is named after him.

Erdoğan married Emine Gülbaran (b. 1955, Siirt), whom he met during a conference, on 4 July 1978. The couple have two sons (Ahmet Burak, Necmeddin Bilal) and two daughters (Esra, Sümeyye). His father, Ahmet Erdoğan, died in 1988. In 2011, Erdoğan lost his 88-year-old mother Tenzile Erdoğan.

Early political career

While studying business administration at what is today Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences and playing semi-professional football, Erdoğan engaged in politics by joining the National Turkish Student Union, an anti-communist action group. In 1974 he wrote, directed and played the lead role in the play Maskomya, which presented Freemasonry, Communism and Judaism as evil. In 1976, he became the head of Beyoğlu youth branch of the Islamist National Salvation Party (MSP). That same year, he was promoted to the position of chair for the Istanbul youth branch of the party.

After the 1980 military coup, Erdoğan followed most of Necmettin Erbakan's followers into the Islamist Welfare Party. He became the party’s Beyoglu district chair in 1984, and in 1985 he became the chair of the Istanbul city branch. He was elected to parliament in 1991, but barred from taking his seat.

Mayor of Istanbul, 1994–1998

In the local elections of 27 March 1994 Erdoğan was elected Mayor of Istanbul, the social and economic capital of Turkey and one of the biggest metropolitan areas of the world. He won a plurality (25.19%) of the popular vote. Many feared that he would impose Islamic law; however, he was pragmatic in office, tackling such chronic problems in Istanbul as water shortage, pollution and traffic chaos. The water shortage problem was solved with the laying of hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state-of-the-art recycling facilities. While Erdoğan was in office, air pollution was reduced through a plan developed to switch to natural gas. He changed the public buses with environmentally friendly buses. The city's traffic and transportation jams were ameliorated with more than fifty bridges, viaducts, and highways. While taking precautions to prevent corruption, he took measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently. He paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's two billion dollar debt when he took office and meanwhile invested four billion dollars in the city.

Erdoğan initiated the first roundtable of mayors during the Istanbul conference, which led to a global, organized movement of mayors. A seven member international jury from the United Nations unanimously found Erdoğan deserving the UN-HABITAT award.

Imprisonment in 1998

Before his conviction, the fundamentalist Welfare Party was declared unconstitutional and was shut down by the Turkish constitutional court on the grounds of threatening the laicistic order in Turkey. Erdoğan became a constant speaker at the demonstrations held by his party colleagues.

He was given a ten-month prison sentence (of which he served less than four months, from 24 March 1999 to 27 July 1999) for reciting a poem in Siirt in December 1997, which, under article 312/2 of the Turkish penal code was regarded as an incitement to commit an offense and incitement to religious or racial hatred. It included verses translated as "The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...." The aforementioned verses, however, are not in the original version of the poem. The poem was from a work written by Ziya Gökalp, a pan-Turkish activist of the early 20th century. Erdoğan claimed the poem had been approved by the education ministry to be published in textbooks. With the conviction, Erdoğan was forced to give up his mayoral position. The conviction also stipulated a political ban, which prevented him from participating in parliamentary elections. He completed his sentence on 24 July 1999.

Prime Ministership

In 2001, Erdoğan established the Justice and Development Party. The AK Party won a landslide victory in the 2002 election, taking nearly two-thirds of the seats. However, Erdoğan could not become prime minister right away, as he was still banned from politics by the judiciary for his speech in Siirt; Gül thus became the prime minister instead. In December 2002 the Supreme Election Board canceled the general election results from Siirt due to voting irregularities and scheduled a new election for 9 February 2003. By this time, party leader Erdoğan was able to run for Parliament thanks to a legal change made possible by the opposition Republican People’s Party. The AK Party duly listed Erdoğan as a candidate for the rescheduled Siirt election, and he won, becoming prime minister after Gül subsequently handed over the post.

Kurdish Issue See also: Solution process

In 2009, the Turkish government under Prime Minister Erdoğan announced a plan to help end the quarter-century-long Turkey – Kurdistan Workers' Party conflict that has cost more than 40,000 lives. The government's plan, supported by the European Union, allowed the Kurdish language to be used in all broadcast media and political campaigns, and restore Kurdish names to cities and towns that have been given Turkish ones. “We took a courageous step to resolve chronic issues that constitute an obstacle along Turkey's development, progression and empowerment”, Erdoğan said regarding the matter. Erdoğan passed a partial amnesty to reduce penalties faced by many members of the Kurdish guerrilla movement PKK who had surrendered to the government. On 23 November 2011, he apologised on behalf of the state for the Dersim Massacre, where Alevis and Zazas was killed, during a televised meeting of his party in Ankara.

Armenian Genocide

Prime Minister Erdogan expressed multiple times that Turkey will acknowledge the mass killings of up to 1.5 million 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. In 2005, Prime Minister Erdogan and the main opposition party leader Deniz Baykal wrote a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, proposing the creation of a joint Turkish-Armenian commission. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian rejected the offer.

In December 2008 Erdoğan criticised the I Apologize campaign by Turkish intellectuals to recognize the Armenian Genocide, saying that "I neither accept nor support this campaign. We did not commit a crime, therefore we do not need to apologize... It will not have any benefit other than stirring up trouble, disturbing our peace and undoing the steps which have been taken." In November 2009 he stated that "it's not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide."

In 2011 Erdoğan ordered the tearing-down the Statue of Humanity, a Turkish-Armenian friendship monument in Kars, which was commissioned in 2006 and represented a metaphor of the rapprochement of countries after many years of dispute over the events of 1915. Erdoğan 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 claimed it was illegally erected in a protected area. However, the former mayor of Kars who approved the original construction of the monument said the municipality was not destroying a "monument to humanity" but "humanity itself". The demolition did not happen unopposed; among its detractors were several Turkish artists. Two of them, the painter Bedri Baykam and his associate, Pyramid Art Gallery general coordinator Tugba Kurtulmus, were stabbed after a meeting with other artists at the Istanbul Akatlar cultural center.

Human rights

There have been several attempts to replace the Turkish Constitution of 1982 with a more "civil constitution", which failed due to the resistance of the main opposition parties CHP and MHP. After they lost the referendum in 2010, the CHP agreed to the creation of the Constitutional Commission which will, with the participation of all political parties in the Turkish parliament, develop a new draft for the Turkish constitution. The commission's effort is still a work in progress and is expected to be ready in 2013.

During his time as Prime Minister the far-reaching powers of the 1991 Anti-Terror Law were reduced and the Democratic initiative process, with the goal to improve democratic standards in general and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities in particular, was initiated.

After Turkey's bid to join the European Union stalled, European officials noted a return to more authoritarian ways, notably on freedom of speech , press freedom and Kurdish minority rights .

Reporters Without Borders observed a continuous decrease in Freedom of the Press during his later terms, with an rank of around 100 on the Press Freedom Index during his first term and rank 154 of a total of 179 countries in 2013. Freedom House sees a slight recovery in the recent years and awarded Turkey a Press Freedom Score of 55/100 in 2012 after a low point of 48/100 in 2006.

Demands by activists for the recognition of LGBT rights were publicly rejected by government members and the members of the Turkish LGBT community were insulted by cabinet members.

Under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the Turkish government tightened the laws on consumption and sale of alcohol, like banning all advertising for and increasing the tax on alcoholic beverages. A law that raised the legal drinking age from 18 to 24 years was in place from 2011 until it was abolished in 2013.

EconomyPublic debt as percentage of GDP of the six largest European economies (Light blue line for Turkey).

In 2002, Erdoğan inherited a Turkish economy deep in recession due to the financial crisis during the MHP-ANAP-DSP-coalition government under the leadership of Bülent Ecevit. Erdoğan supported Finance Minister Ali Babacan in enforcing macro-economic policies. Erdoğan tried to attract more foreign investors to Turkey and lifted most of government regulations. The hot cash flow into Turkish economy between 2002-2012 caused a 64% growth in real GDP and a 43% increase in GDP per capita, which are considerably lower than the commonly advertised numbers due to the fact that the inflation of US dollar between 2002-2012 was not taken into account. Therefore, the average annual growth in GDP per capita was actually 3.6%, which is expected for a developing economy that was just getting out of a financial crisis. The growth in real GDP between 2002-2012 was higher than the values from the developed countries, but it was close to the average when the developing countries are taken into account. The ranking of the Turkish economy in terms of GDP changed from 17 only to 16 during this decade. A major side effect of the policies between 2002-2012 was widening the current account deficit from 600 million USD to 48 billion USD.

Since 1961, Turkey has signed 19 IMF loan accords. Erdoğan's government satisfied the budgetary and market requirements of the two on his watch and received every loan installment, the only time any government has ever done so. Erdoğan inherited a debt of $23.5 billion to the IMF, which has been reduced to $0.9 billion in 2012. He decided not to sign a new deal. Turkey's debt to the IMF has been declared to be completely paid and he announced that IMF can borrow from TURKEY.

In 2010, Five-year credit default swaps for Turkey's sovereign debt were trading at a record low of 1.17%, below those of nine EU member countries and Russia. The unemployment rate decreased from 10.3% to 9.7% in 2007. Along with the global economic crisis of 2008, Turkey’s unemployment rate jumped to a record high of 16.1% in the January–March period of 2009. In the April–June period of 2010, the unemployment decreased again to 11.0%, compared to 10.0% in the eurozone. The unemployment rate in Turkey fell to 8.2 percent in May 2012, the lowest level last 10 years.

In 2002, the Turkish Central Bank had $26.5 billion in reserves. This amount reached $92.2 billion in 2011. In the same period, inflation fell from 34.9% to 5.7%, the lowest in 39 years. The public debt as percentage of annual gross domestic product declined from 74% in 2002 to 39% in 2009. In 2012, Turkey has a lower ratio of public debt to gross domestic product than 21 of 27 members of the European Union and a lower budget deficit to GDP ratio than 23 of them.

The World Bank praised Erdoğan for the courageous reforms and the economic stability in the country.


Early in his prime ministership, Erdoğan increased the budget of the Ministry of Education from 7.5 billion lira in 2002 to 34 billion lira in 2011, making it the ministry with highest share of the national budget. Before his prime ministership, the military received the highest share of the national budget. Compulsory education is increased from 8 years to 12. In 2003, the Turkish government started together with UNICEF the campaign "Come on girls, let's go to school!" (Turkish: Haydi Kızlar Okula!). The goal of this campaign is to close the gender-gap in primary school enrollment through the provision of a quality basic education for all girls, especially in southeast Turkey.

The parliament granted amnesty to students expelled from universities before 2003. The amnesty applied to students dismissed on academic or disciplinary grounds. In 2004, textbooks became free of charge and since 2008 every province in Turkey has its own university. During Erdoğan's prime ministership, the number of universities in Turkey nearly doubled, from 98 in 2002 to 186 as of October 2012.

The Prime Minister redeemed his campaign promises by starting the f@tih project in which all state schools spanning from preschools all the way to high school level will receive a total of 620,000 smart boards, while tablet computers will be distributed to 17 million students and approximately one million teachers and administrators.


Under Erdogan's government, the number of airports increased from 26 to 50. Between the founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and 2002, there was 6000 km of dual carriageway made. During 2002 and 2011, there was 13500 km of expressway made, increasing the total amount to 19500 km. Due to these measures, the number of car accidents fell by 50 percent. For the first time in Turkish history, high speed railway lines were constructed, and the country'shigh-speed train service began in 2009. In 8 years, 1076 km of railway was built and 5449 km of railway was renewed. The construction of Marmaray, an undersea rail tunnel under the Bosphorus strait, started in 2004. When completed, it will be the world's deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel. The construction of the 1,9 km long Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge began in 2013. The choice of name of the bridge led to protests by Alevis in Turkey because of Sultan Selim I's role, nicknamed “the Grim” due to his cruelty, in the Ottoman persecution of Alevis.


On March 2006, the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) for the first time in Turkey's history held a press conference and publicly protest the obstruction of the appointment of judges to the high courts for over 10 months. It claimed Erdoğan wanted to fill the vacant posts with his own appointees which Erdoğan was accused of creating a rift with the Turkey's highest court of appeals (the Yargıtay) and high administrative court (the Danıştay). Erdoğan claimed that the constitution gave power of assigning members to his elected party.

In May 2007, the head of Turkey's High Court asked prosecutors to consider whether Erdoğan should be charged over critical comments regarding the election of Abdullah Gül as president. Erdoğan said the ruling was "a disgrace to the justice system", and criticized the Constitutional Court which had invalidated a presidential vote because a boycott of other parties meant there was no quorum. Prosecutors have already investigated his earlier comments, including saying it had fired a "bullet at democracy". Tülay Tuğcu, head of the Constitutional Court, condemned Erdoğan for "threats, insults and hostility" towards the justice system. The Turkish parliament agreed to reduce the age of candidacy to the parliament from 30 to 25 and abolished the death penalty in all instances, including war time.


Erdoğan supports the continuation of Turkey's high population growth rate and, in 2008, commented that to ensure that the Turkish population remains young every family would need to have at least three children. He has repeated this statement on numerous occasions. As of 2010, Turkey's population is estimated at 73,700,000, with a growth rate of 1.21% per annum (2009 figure).

On 26 May 2012, in a question of a reporter after the UN conference on population and development in Turkey, Erdoğan said "You either kill a baby in the mother's womb or you kill it after birth. In many cases , there's no difference."

Erdoğan has stated that he opposes Turkey's high and growing rate of caesarean section births because he believes that they reduce the fertility of Turkish women, and he is in favor of limiting the number of such births at Turkish hospitals.

Health care

On April 2006, Erdoğan unveiled a social security reform package demanded by the International Monetary Fund under a loan deal. He claimed that the move, which was passed with fierce opposition, was one of the most radical reforms. Turkey’s three social security bodies were united under one roof, bringing equal health services and retirement benefits for members of all three bodies. Under the second bill, everyone under the age of 18 years old will be entitled to free health services, irrespective of whether they pay premiums to any social security organization or not. The bill also envisages a gradual increase in the retirement age. Starting from 2036, the retirement age will increase to 65 by 2048 for both women and men. The government unified three systems of hospitals and insurance for different professions that were criticized for offering unequal benefits and reserving the best hospitals for civil servants while others waited in long queues. Erdoğan claimed that the abortion is murder, saying "you either kill a baby in the mother's womb or you kill it after birth. There's no difference."

On January 2008, the Turkish Parliament adopted a law on a complete prohibition of smoking in most public places. Erdoğan is outspokenly anti-smoking.

2013 protestsDemonstrators in Taksim Square on 4 June 2013Main article: 2013 protests in Turkey

May and June 2013 saw protests against the perceived authoritarianism of Erdogan and his policies, starting from a small sit-in in Istanbul in defense of a city park. After the police's intense reaction with tear gas, the protests grew each day that came after. Faced by the largest mass protest in a decade, Erdogan made this controversial remark in a televised speech: "The police were there yesterday, they are there today, and they will be there tomorrow." After weeks of clashes in the streets of Istanbul, his government first apologized to the protestors and called for a plebiscite, but then brutally cracked down on the peaceful protesters.

Foreign policy Main articles: Foreign policy of the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan government and List of prime ministerial trips made by Recep Tayyip ErdoğanMap of international trips made by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as prime minister.

Erdoğan is a co-founder of the so-called "Alliance of Civilizations" (AOC). The AOC initiative was proposed by the Prime Minister of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, at the 59th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 2005. The initiative seeks to galvanize international action against extremism through the forging of international, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue and cooperation.

European Union

Erdoğan was named "The European of the Year 2004" by the newspaper European Voice for the reforms in his country. He said in a comment that "Turkey's accession shows that Europe is a continent where civilisations reconcile and not clash." On 3 October 2005, the negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU formally started during Erdoğan's tenure as Prime Minister.

Erdoğan's government is not unconditionally pro-European. The European Commission generally supports Erdoğan's reforms, but remains critical of his policies. Negotiations about a possible EU membership came to a standstill in 2009 and 2010, when Turkish ports were closed to Cypriot ships. The Turkish government continues its refusal to recognize EU member state Cyprus. Furthermore, fundamental rights remain an issue in Turkey. A law establishing the Turkish National Human Rights Institution was adopted by the Turkish parliament, but the law does not comply fully with the UN Paris principles on human rights institutions. In a report that the European Commission presented in 2012 about a possible Turkish accession to the European Union, the Commission specifically mentioned the lack of freedom of expression, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of assembly, access to independent and impartial justice, children’s rights, and trade union rights as areas where the Turkish government needs to implement reforms. Freedom of the media continued to be further restricted in practice, according to the report. No progress was made on anti-discrimination policies, such as discrimination against homosexuals. The position of socially vulnerable persons and/or persons with disabilities, torture in prisons and the issue of violence to women in relationships outside marriage, as well as early and forced marriages, also remain concerns, according to the report.

Greece and Cyprus disputeErdoğan with former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil, May 27, 2010.

During Erdoğan's Prime Ministership, relations with Greece have been normalized. Political and economic relations are much improved. In 2007, Erdoğan and Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met on the bridge over the Evros River at the border between Greece and Turkey, for the inauguration of the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, linking the longtime Aegean rivals through a project that will give Caspian gas its first direct Western outlet and help ease Russia's energy dominance. Turkey and Greece signed an agreement to create a Combined Joint Operational Unit within the framework of NATO to participate in Peace Support Operations. Erdoğan and his party strongly supported the EU backed referendum of Cyprus, 2004 to reunify the island. Negotiations about a possible EU membership came to a standstill in 2009 and 2010, when Turkish ports were closed to Cypriot ships. The Turkish government continues its refusal to recognize EU member state Cyprus.


Armenia is Turkey's only neighbor which Erdoğan has not yet visited during his prime ministry. Turkish-Armenian relations had been frozen since 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh War with Turkey's close ally Azerbaijan.

Diplomatic efforts resulted in the signing of protocols between Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers in Switzerland to improve relations between the two countries. One of the points of the agreement was the creation of a joint commission on the issue. The Armenian Constitutional Court decided that the commission contradicts the Armenian constitution. Turkey said that Armenian court’s ruling on the protocols is not acceptable. The parliament of Armenia and Turkey decided for the suspension of the rectification process.

Erdoğan has said that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan should apologize for calling on school children to re-occupy eastern Turkey. When asked by a student at a literature contest ceremony if Armenians will be able to get back their “western territories” along with Mt. Ararat, Sarksyan said, "This is the task of your generation.” Armenians attach great historical and cultural importance to Mt. Ararat on the eastern border of modern-day Turkey, around where Armenians are believed to have first adopted Christianity as an official religion in 301 A.D.

RussiaHigh-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council with Prime Minister Erdogan and President Putin

In December 2004, President Putin visited Turkey. This was the first Presidential visit in the history of Turkish-Russian relations besides that of the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Nikolai Podgorny in 1972. In November 2005, Putin attended the inauguration of a jointly constructed Blue Stream natural gas pipeline in Turkey. This sequence of top-level visits has brought several important bilateral issues to the forefront. The two countries consider it their strategic goal to achieve "multidimensional co-operation", especially in the fields of energy, transport and the military. Specifically, Russia aims to invest in Turkey’s fuel and energy industries, and it also expects to participate in tenders for the modernisation of Turkey’s military.

President Medvedev described Turkey as “one of our most important partners with respect to regional and international issues... We can confidently say that Russian-Turkish relations have advanced to the level of a multidimensional strategic partnership.”

On 12 May 2010, Ankara and Moscow signed 17 agreements to enhance cooperation in energy and other fields, including pacts to build Turkey’s first nuclear power plant and furthering plans for an oil pipeline from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The leaders of both countries have also signed an agreement on visa-free travel. Tourists will be able to get into the country for free and stay there for up to 30 days.

United StatesErdoğan and Barack Obama in White House, 7 December 2009.

When Barack Obama became President of United States, he made his first overseas bilateral meeting to Turkey in April 2009.

At a joint news conference in Turkey, Obama said: "I'm trying to make a statement about the importance of Turkey, not just to the United States but to the world. I think that where there's the most promise of building stronger U.S.-Turkish relations is in the recognition that Turkey and the United States can build a model partnership in which a predominantly Christian nation, a predominantly Muslim nation – a Western nation and a nation that straddles two continents," he continued, "that we can create a modern international community that is respectful, that is secure, that is prosperous, that there are not tensions – inevitable tensions between cultures – which I think is extraordinarily important."


Under Erdoğan, Iraq and Turkey signed 48 trade agreements by the Iraqi-Turkish Strategic Council in Baghdad. Agreements signed included sectors of security, energy, oil, electricity, water, health, trade, environment, transport, housing, construction, agriculture, education, higher education, and defense. The Turkish government mended relations with Iraqi Kurdistan by opening a Turkish university in Arbil, and a Turkish consulate in Mosul. Abdullah Gül became the first Turkish head of state to visit Iraq in 33 years, on 23 March 2009.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has fostered very strong economic and political relations with Irbil, and Turkey is beginning to consider the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq as an ally against Maliki’s government.


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