Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey's pugnacious president

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey's pugnacious president

From humble beginnings Recep Tayyip Erdogan has grown into a political giant, reshaping Turkey more than any leader since Mustafa Kemal
Ataturk, the revered father of the modern republic.

But in recent years the economy has deteriorated. Inflation is nearly 12% and the Turkish lira has slumped against the dollar. Coronavirus is
exacerbating Turkey's economic woes.

When he became Turkish leader back in March 2003 the lira rate was 1.6 to the dollar - now it is above 8.0. His early years in power were
marked by solid growth and a development boom.

Military muscle
In recent months President Erdogan has pushed harder to project Turkish power abroad. That has riled many countries, not least the EU and
Turkey's Nato allies.

The Turkish military has become involved in the conflicts in Libya, Syria and, indirectly, Nagorno-Karabakh in the Caucasus.

The Turkish army held joint exercises with Azerbaijan just weeks before heavy fighting erupted between Azerbaijan and the Armenians
controlling Nagorno-Karabakh. The territory is recognised internationally as part of Azerbaijan.

The Turkic Azerbaijanis are traditionally close to Turkey, and the oil-rich state has key export pipelines transiting Turkey. But Russia has for
centuries treated the Caucasus as its sphere of influence.

In the Caucasus, and the wars in Libya and Syria, Mr Erdogan's ambitions clash with Russian President Vladimir Putin's.

Ruling party challenged
Last year Mr Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AKP (Justice and Development Party) won local elections nationally, but lost in the three biggest cities -
Istanbul, the capital Ankara and Izmir.

Losing the Istanbul mayorship narrowly to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was a bitter blow to Mr Erdogan, who was
the city's mayor in the 1990s.

Most of the AKP's core voters are in small Anatolian towns and rural, conservative areas.

Mr Erdogan first rose to prominence in Istanbul, now a city of some 16 million. It was there and in Ankara that the AKP turned local success
into a national political steamroller, becoming Turkey's dominant party for years.

There are still many things to follow here. : pgslot