Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Birth of a Dictator

erdogan crowd-reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears more popular than ever following the military coup earlier this year.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The turmoil in Turkey threatens to hurt the country’s economy and could complicate Ankara’s ties to its European allies.

  • Facts


    • Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the leader of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, known as the AKP. He served as prime minister for more than a decade before his election as president in 2014.
    • Turkey’s leadership has accused U.S. cleric Fethullah Gülen of being behind a July 15 coup attempt.
    • Since the failed coup, Mr. Erdogan has suspended more than 60,000 civil servants from their posts and made thousands of arrests.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

In 1998, several years before Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Turkey’s prime minister, he offered what may well have been the best indication of how he would lead the country.

“Democracy is like a train,” he said. “When you reach your destination, you get off.”

Eighteen years later, under President Erdogan, those words resonate even more clearly. Less than a month after the failed coup against him, the Turkish leader has gone to great lengths to silence his critics.

The steps he has taken – by his own admission, a “purge” and “cleansing” of the Turkish state – have shaken Western leaders’ faith in Mr. Erdogan, and raised questions about the future of democracy and the rule of law in his country.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.