Economic and Political analyst
Those nations are considered fortunate who have visionary, hardworking, dynamic, committed and sincere leaders. Turkey and Turkish people are lucky in that sense that they have their leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who took his nation from abysmal position and destined them to new Himalayan heights. Erdogan is an ideal leader of whole Muslim Ummah a population of 1.80 billion according to Pew Research. Muslim Ummah’s hearts beat with Erdogan, it loves him, acclaim and admire him, and it remembers him in its prayers. He is pride for Muslim Ummah. He is messenger of peace and unity.
Tayyip Erdogan was born on 26 February 1954. He is 12th and current president of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as a Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Develop Party in 2001, leading it to general election victories in 2002, 2007, 2011 before standing down upon his election as president in 2014.
The so called secular elements in Turkey did not like him because of his enlightened Islamic thoughts and he was stripped off his position, banned from political office and imprisoned for four months because he expressed his love for Islam and Prophet Muhammad ( Peace be upon him) openly. Following the AKP’s landslide victory in 2002, the party cofounder Abdullah Gul became Prime Minister until his government annulled Erdogan’s ban from political office. Erdogan became prime minister in March 2003 after victory at by election in Sirt.
Erdogan ranked first place in the world’s 500 most influential Muslims in 2019. He attended Imam Hatip School and sold lemonade on the city’s streets to make extra bills. He studied business administration at Marmara University’s faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. He also took part in students’ politics by joining and leading local youth branch of the Islamist National Salvation Party led by Necmetion Erbakan. His father was not a rich person and was working on coast guard. His grandfather was local Imam. His mother was teacher of Quran and he learned Holy Quran from his mother. It is the reason that he can recite Quran beautifully.
In 1991 Erdogan became a candidate on the party’s ticket and won a seat. In 1994 Erdogan was elected Mayor of Istanbul to shock the city’s secular and atheist people. He emerged over the next four years as a pragmatic mayor who tackled many chronic problems in the city including pollution, water shortage and traffic. Nemettin Erbakan was the first openly Islamist Prime Minister the Military who at that time was guardian of secularism dismissed him by military coup. Erdogan was caught up in crackdown by military because of his pro-Islamic thoughts. He denounced the closure of his party and recited the lines of poem from the Turkish war of liberation.
“The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets and minarets are our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.
He is an open heart and mind person and praised the positive aspects of Europe and praised freedom of belief. He said” there is respect for worship, for the headscarf. Why is there not in Turkey.
As a mayor of Istanbul he solved the chronic problems of water shortage, pollution and traffic chaos. The water shortage was solved by laying hundred kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state of the art recycling facilities. Air pollution was reduced through a plan developed to switch natural gas. He changed the public smoke emitting buses to environmentally friendly ones. The city’s traffic and transportation jams were reduced with more than fifty bridges, viaducts and highways were built. He took pre cautions to prevent corruption using measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently. He paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s two billion dollars debt and invested four billion dollars in the city. Erdogan initiated the first round table of mayors during the Istanbul conference, which led to a global organized movement of mayors. A seven member’s jury from the United Nations unanimously awarded UN-HABITAT award. It is the United Nations Human settlement program. In 2002 his party got 34.3% votes, in 2007 election rose to 46.6%, in 2011 further enhanced to 49.8%.
During his regime from 2003 to 2012 many economic reforms were taken which resulted in 64% growth in real GDP 43% increase in GDP per capita. The growth in GDP was higher than many developed countries. Erdogan inherited a debt of US$ 23.5 billion to the IMF which was reduced to .0.9 billion in 2012. He decided not to sign a new deal. Turkey’s debt to the IMF was declined to be completely paid and he announced that the IMF can borrow from Turkey. The Turkey’s debt was reduced to 1.17% below those of nine EU members. When Erdogan came into power there was only $26.5 billion in reserves. This amount reached to $ 92.2 billion in 2011. During his leadership inflation fell from 32% to 9% in just one year. Public debt was 74% of GDP in 2002 declined to 39% in 2012. Turkey had a lower ratio of public debt to GDP than 21 out of 27 members of the European Union. In 2003 Erdogan’s government pushed through the labour act, a comprehensive reform of Turkey’s labour laws. The law greatly expanded the rights of employees, establishing a 45 hour work week and limiting overtime work to 270 hours a years, average 2 hours per day. He provided legal protection against discrimination, prohibited discrimination between permanent and temporary based employees, entitled employees terminated without “Valid cause” to compensation and mandated written contract for employment arrangements lasting a year or more.
Erdogan increased the budget of education from 7.5 billion Lira in 2002 to $ 34 billion in 2011, the highest share of the national budget given to one ministry. Before his prime ministership the military received the highest share of the national budget. Compulsory education was received from eight years to twelve. In 2003 the Turkish government started a campaign called “come on girls, let us go to schools.” The number of Universities doubled during Erdogan’s regime from 98 to 186 in 2012. Tablets and computers were distributed to 17 million students and one million teachers and administrative staff. In 2017 a draft proposal by the ministry of education was approved by Erdogan, in which curriculum for schools excluded the teaching of Charles Darwin’s theory by 2019.
Under Erdogan’s government the number of airports increased from 26 to 50. Between the founding of Turkey in 1923 and 2002 in 79 years period there had been 6000 km of dual carriageway roads created while from 2003 to 2011 just in eight years only another 13,500 km of express way were built. Due to the measure number of accidents fell by 50%. For the first time in Turkish history high speed railway lines were constructed, country’s high speed train service began in 2009. In 8 years, 1076 Km of railway were built and 5449 km of railway renewed. The construction of Mammary and undersea rail tunnel under the Bosporus strait, started in 2004. When completed it will be the world’s deepest undersea immersed tube tunnel. He also started green card programme for people to provide them health facilities. When a segment of armed forces rebel against him, by his appeal people came out on street and stood like a cliff against the tanks and thus the insurgency was foiled. His people love him very much. He is liked and admired in Pakistan too. People pray for his success and longevity.