In the past week, Occupy Gezi Park erupted in Istanbul. The capital on the Bosphorus swelled with protests against the current government of Turkey, lead by the Justice and Development Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Seeing Erdogan, a clean cut man in front of a red and white flag, many Americans might assume he’s Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada. So, for the purposes of education, the Meatloaf set out to answer the question “Who IS Recep Tayyip Erdogan?” Here are the bullet points you need to know.
Erdogan is a Turk, a Muslim, and … a Georgian. (This is the toughest one. I promise, they’ll get easier.) Erdogan was born in Istanbul to a family that comes from the Rize province in Northeast Turkey on the Black Sea, but traces its roots to Batumi in Georgia (a country best known for spawning brutal dictator Josef Stalin).
Erdogan was once mayor of Istanbul. Currently the head of the Justice and Development Party, the Turkish parliament’s largest, Erdogan’s political career took off when he was elected mayor of Istanbul in 1994.
Erdogan is pro-America. He wants to tear down Gezi Park and build a shopping center. What’s more American that that? I could actually support his proposal if he would just promise not to build a Sbarro in the food court.
Erdogan is a trendsetter. He referred to the protesters as “çapulcu” which has since morphed into the anglicized “chapulling”, a term that has been used by protesters and even been endorsed by Noam Chomsky.
Erdogan is a lover of sport. He started life as a semi-professional soccer player, much like Fidel Castro, who played baseball at University, though never quite made it to the professional level, despite numerous urban legends of a Major League tryout.
Erdogan is a diplomat. He has extended the olive branch to other democratic leaders of free nations in Europe.
Let’s have a look at those criminals again.
He’s not just friends with Europeans, either. He has buddies in the region. (via http://www.joshualandis.com)
Erdogan doesn’t like the media, especially social media. Turkey has more journalists in prison that China or Iran. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated unequivocally his thoughts about “The Twitter.”
“There is now a menace which is called Twitter. The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”
I’d wager the media took that quote out of context. I’m sure what he meant to say was “The best examples of lies can be found there. #ChrisBrown #AmandaBynes.” Talk about meriting a retweet.
Erdogan is for a clean Turkey. In addition to promoting carbon-free hydropower (which tends to flood areas and displace citizens), Erdogan’s mobile shower program has proven quite effective!
To sum it all up, he’s kinda from Georgia, like Stalin. He played sports pretty well, like Castro. He’s good buddies with Assad, Berlusconi, and Putin. He doesn’t seem to like journalism, but he really likes shopping centers.
I’ll let the Turkish people have the final word.
Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images