Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was born in the working-class district of Kasimpasa in Istanbul and began working early on selling goods such as the Turkish sesame pretzel “simit” on the city streets. Later he became a good football player and today the football arena in his upbringing is named “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stadium”.
Erdoğan’s political career
Erdoğan started his political career in Islamist parties and was briefly imprisoned after reading a poem that was considered Islamist hate rhetoric. As mayor of Istanbul, for example, he improved waste sorting and tried to reduce corruption. In 2001, Tayyip Erdoğan was one of the founders of the conservative “Justice and Development Party” (AKP). The party has come to dominate Turkish politics completely since then. As Prime Minister, Erdoğan lifted the previous ban on wearing the veil at Turkish universities and sought to allow Turkey to join the EU. In 2014, Erdoğan became Turkey’s first elected president.
Purge of opponents
In 2013, protests against Erdoğan’s plans to build a mosque in the so-called Gezi Park in Istanbul led to protests in several Turkish cities. The protesters were met with tear gas and rubber bullets. After Erdoğan ended up on an open coalition course with the Islamist “Gulen movement”, thousands of critics and dissidents were imprisoned. The Gulenist movement was singled out as the driving force behind the military coup attempt in 2016. Since then, there has been a wave of mass arrests and human rights organizations believe that opposition groups have been imprisoned without legal grounds. The Turkish president is described as increasingly paranoid and authoritarian. Thousands of people have been prosecuted for allegedly insulting the president.
Host: Cecilia Uddén, introduction Johar Bendjelloul
Participants: Johan Mathias SommarströmTurkey correspondent, Besir Kavakthe Kurdish group at Ekot, Katja Magnussonformer Turkey correspondent
Producer: Katja Magnusson
Technique: Hanna Melander
Music in the episode: Hasat Vakti Maher Zain
Source: ICELAND NEWS