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Erdogan reflects Turkey's new found global confidence

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Erdogan reflects Turkey's new found global confidence


Recep Tayyip Erdogan first attracted international attention in 2002 when his AK Party swept to power.

Since then he has been the driving force behind Turkey’s shift from a country with a rich past to one with a confident future.

It has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and is now a regional powerhouse.

To some, Erdogan remains an autocrat and an Islamist, while to others he is a hero and a man of the people.

By 2004, Erdogan had taken Turkey to the European table much to the delight of millions of Turks.

By 2011, EU accession talks were stalled by the unwillingness of Germany and France to accept the predominantly Muslim nation.

The frozen accession attempt appears not to have hurt Erdogan with ordinary Turks, who are happy to see their prime minister openly criticising the great and the good in Brussels.

Erdogan, a former bread roll seller in the Kasimpasa district of Istanbul, has had his brushes with the law. He was imprisoned briefly while mayor of Istanbul for reading poetry in public — something the military did not like — but that was in his younger days.

Now he is a key player on the world stage and reflects the confidence of his country.

A settling of accounts now appears close at hand, as Erdogan prepares to construct a new civil constitution to banish the restrictive military rule book penned in 1982.

The future reduced role of the military in Turkish politics is something the EU has been calling for, and this has allowed Erdogan to move against the military in public.

He has gradually improved minority rights, and a Kurdish TV station is now a reality as he prepares for a vital third and final term as prime minister.

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