(b. 26 Feb 1954).
Turkish Prime Minister, 2003– Born in Istanbul, the observant Muslim graduated from a state‐sponsored Islamic school, and studied economics. He became a prominent politician of the religious Welfare Party, and was elected Mayor of Istanbul in 1994. A popular and pragmatic politician, he was imprisoned and banned from holding political office in 1998, for reading an Islamic poem at a political rally. After his release from prison, and the ban of the Welfare Party, he founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which aimed at pursuing religious principles in a secular state. The AKP won a landslide election victory in 2002, and after a constitutional amendment he was allowed to become Prime Minister a few months later. A popular politician, Erdogan presided over a revival of the economy. In 2007, he led the AKP to a resounding election victory, when it obtained 47 per cent of the popular vote.
Subjects: Islam — Contemporary History (Post 1945).