Politician, statesman and Prime Minister. He was born on the 26th of February 1954 in Istanbul / Kasımpaşa. He is the son of a seaman from Rize who also served in Coast Guard Organization. He spent his childhood in Rize. He migrated from Rize to Istanbul with his family at the age of fourteen and studied in Piyale Paşa Primary School. He sold lemonades and bagels during his childhood for some extra allowance in some streets of Istanbul. He entered in 1965 and Imam-Hatip School and graduated from it in 1973. He acquired a two-year degree from Aksaray Economic and Commercial Sciences High School in 1981, which was renamed as Marmara University Economic and Administrative Sciences Faculty being connected to Marmara University. He played football in Camialtı, İETT and Erokspor for 16 years and after the 12th of September 1980 he quit football.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started to work in the private sector in 1980 upon departing from İETT where he was working. In 1982 he went into the army. After his return he worked around one and half years in the same company. He continued his career in another company as a General Director. Meanwhile he participated to works of National Turkish Students Association during his university years. He became interested in politics and elected to Beyoğlu Leader of Youth Branch of Milli Selamet Party (MSP) in 1978 and the same year to MSP Istanbul Head of Province, entering active politics.
After the military coup of 12 September 1980 he continued his political career with Refah Party established in 1983. In 1984 he became Beyoğlu District President and in 1985 Istanbul Head of Province and Central Executive Unit member of this party. In by-elections of 1986 he put his candidacy for parliament membership and in 1989 he stood up as a mayor candidate for the district of Beyoğlu. Refah Party was the 2nd party in 1989 elections. He became a candidate for parliament membership again and was elected in 1991 as one, after his party overcame the limit. However Supreme Committee of Elections cancelled his parliament membership because of “preferential voting system”. Instead of him, Mustafa Baş entered the parliament in that year.
Erdoğan continued his duty as Istanbul Head of Province until 1994. In local elections of 27 March 1994 he received 25, 19% of all votes, became Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul contradicting all estimations of media and surveys. During his duty in one of the biggest metropolitan cities of the world and in the social and economic capital of Turkey, he struggled against illegal housing and aridity, which ravaged the city at that time and it, was observed that he reached important success in his struggles. Lawsuits against him, which were started in these years, were abated because of his parliamentary immunity.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went to Siirt on the 12th of December 1997 upon an invitation. He joined a meeting where he was doing a speech. During this speech he recited a poem of Ziya Gökalp he wrote on the Balkan Wars in 1912, which also was present in a book recommended by the Ministry of National Education to teachers, titled “Asker Duası”. He was put on trial because of it and especially of its lines “Minareler süngü / Kubbeler miğfer / Camiler kışlamız / Müminler asker (T.N. Minarets are bayonets, Domes helmets, Mosques barracks and Believers soldiers”) by Diyarbakır State Security Court. As a result of trial he was condemned to four months imprisonment because of “provoking people to hatred and hostility discriminating on religious and racial basis” according to the Turkish Penal Code. Erdoğan with this court decision left his duty as Metropolitan Mayor of Istanbul he has been serving since 4, 5 years and was imprisoned in Pınarhisar Prison in Kırklareli on the 26th of March 1999.He was released on the 24th of July 1999. During this process he was open to suggestions of environments, which loved and supported him to establish a party.
After the Virtue Party was closed by Constitutional Court permanently, parliament members who were independent now started their works to establish a new party in two parts, as "Traditionalists" and "Innovators". "National Vision Wing" established Saadet Party (SP) on the 20th of July 2001 under the leadership of Recai Kutan and “Reformist Wing” established Adalet ve Kalkınma Party (AK Parti) on the 14th of August 2001 under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan was elected as its party leader. His party achieved a great success in general elections of 3 November 2002 by receiving 34, 29% of all votes and being the first party.
The party he led won the election but Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could not enter the parliament because of his political ban. His friend Abdullah Gül who was one of the leaders of the party undertook the party leadership for a period and also the prime ministry, establishing the 58th government. After this interim remedy, following process was experienced: After cancelling Parliament Membership of Fadıl Akgündüz, elected from Siirt in general elections and retreat of Mervan Gül from candidacy who was elected as Parliament Member in the first place there was a by-election in Siirt. Erdoğan entered this by-election and was elected PM. He took AK Parti Government’s rule from Abdullah Gül and became a Prime Minister for the first time in 2003.
Prime Minister Erdoğan applied numerous reforms during the period of governments he established. Turkey signed with European Union a partnership treaty after 45 years. With Erdoğan’s prime ministry, Turkey’s entry negotiations to EU have started. As a result of reforms he did in the country he was chosen "The European of the Year 2004" by the European Voice Organization.
In general elections of 2007 a ruling party increased its votes in its second period for the first time in Turkish history after 52 years. Erdoğan’s Adalet ve Kalkınma Party won this election with a rate of 46, 58 %.
Erdoğan evaluated constitutional change requests of the public in 2010 and started working for a more modern and democratic constitution replacing the constitution prepared during the 12 September coup period. In order to change the new constitution completely, he made a referendum on the 12th of September 2010 as a preparation. The package he prepared was supported by the voters and accepted with a yes-rate of 57.94 %. After this referendum, preparations for the new constitution to be realized in 2012 started.
In 2011 Erdoğan’s AK Party continued its success in Turkish politics and increased on the 12th of June 2011 its votes again in comparison with the previous election. It was the winner with 49, 9 % of all votes and Erdoğan established the 61st Turkish Republic Government on his own.
Recep Tayip Erdoğan was granted many awards. Some of them are following: 18 April 2004 –One of the 100 most influential people of the world (Time Magazine), 13 June 2004 - "Golden Plate" award, American Academy of Achievement, 8 August 2006 - "The Year’s Reformist in Black Sea Countries award" (Caspian Energy Integration), 15 January 2008 - "Building Bridges " award (Muslim Social Scientists Association), 26 October 2009 –Medal of Pakistan (Pakistan), 12 January 2010 - "Service to Islam award" (King Faisal Fund), 1 March 2010 - "Hariri Award"( UN Habitat and Refik Hariri Foundation), 25 November 2010 - "Leader of the Year" (Union of Arabic Banks).
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the 12th President on August 10, 2014 Sunday, with the votes of people. The 12th and current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was Prime Minister for 11 years, between 2003 and 2014. He has become the first president elected by public vote, following the amendment made in the Constitution after the 2007 referendum. Erdogan has received 51.79 % of the votes in this election.
When he was the party leader of Justice and Development Party for 12 years; the party has received the highest votes in 2002, 2007 and 2011 general elections. JDP has also received the highest votes in 2015 elections.
Erdogan started his duty as President on August 28, 2014. Erdoğan met Emine Erdoğan (Gülbahar) during a conference he held. They married on the 4th of July 1979. They have two sons Ahmet Burak and Necmeddin Bilal and two daughters, Esra and Sümeyye.