Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan was elected Mayor of Istanbul in the 1994 local elections and in 1997 was banned from office and sentenced to a 10 month prison term for reciting a poem during a public address in the province of Siirt. The poem was allegedly quoted from a book published by a state enterprise and one that had been recommended to teachers by the Ministry of Education.
As Prime Minister, Erdogan has implemented numerous reforms and it has been during his tenure negotiations for the country’s accession into the EU were started 45 years after the country signed an Association Agreement with the EU. Also after decades of inflation that had adversely affected the country's economy, Erdogan brought it under control by revaluing the Turkish Lira. Interest rates were lowered and per capita income grew significantly. The AK party 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 and in the 2011 general election the AK Party was re-elected for a third term with Erdogan remaining as Prime Minister.
After Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Erdogan has largely been deemed the most influential Turkish leader of the Republican era. Under his premiership the country has continued to grow economically and consolidated its position as a regional power with global ambitions. His foreign policy vision is claimed to rest on Neo-Ottomanism, a policy according to which Turkey should maintain and increase its presence in the lands formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire.
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