Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan have made their special place in the hearts of the Muslims and followers of other religions by dint of their affectionate humanitarian approach because they have been in the forefront in aid and relief operations in the wake of natural calamities across the globe.
Moreover, they have also empathized with the tyrannized Kashmiris, Palestinians, Rohyinga Muslims and others suppressed and state terrorism hit people in different continents of the world. Their humanitarian personalities has pleased everyone, therefore now treated as celebrities making them one of the most celebrated couple in the world.
With roots in Rize, Erdoğan was born in Istanbul on February 26, 1954. He received his graduation diploma from Marmara University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences in 1981. Since his youth, he has chosen to lead a social life intertwining with politics.
In 1985, he was elected the Istanbul Provincial Head of the Welfare Party and in the same year he became a member of the Central Executive Board of the Welfare Party. This project won the Welfare Party great success during the mayoral elections in Beyoğlu in 1989, serving as a good example for others in terms of studies at the party across the country.
As for the local elections held on March 27, 1994, Erdoğan was elected Mayor of Metropolitan Istanbul. During his term in office as Mayor, he produced correct diagnoses and solutions to the chronic problems of Istanbul, one of the world’s most important metropolitan cities through his political abilities, the importance he attached to team work and successful management in human resources and financial issues.
Taking very stringent precautions for the correct exertion of the municipal resources and to prevent corruption, Erdoğan paid most of the debts of the Istanbul Municipality. He took over Istanbul with a two billion dollars debt and during his tenure he earned an investment worth four billion dollars.
Erdoğan, after serving four months in prison, established the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on August 14, 2001 with his friends as a result of the insistent demand from the public and the developing democratic process. He was elected Founding General Chair of the AK Party by the Council of Founders.
Taking over the Prime Minister’s office on March 15, 2003, Erdoğan implemented a number of reforms of crucial importance in short time with his idea of a brighter and constantly growing Turkey. The country made great progress in democratization, transparency and the prevention of corruption. In parallel with this, inflation which had not been overcome and had adversely affected the country’s economy along with the psychology of the people for decades was curbed. 6 zeros were removed from the Turkish currency, giving back the Turkish Lira its credit.
The rate of the state’s debt interests was lowered and a considerable increase in the national income per capita was achieved. An unprecedented number of dams, residential units, schools, roads, hospitals and power plants were constructed. All these affirmative developments were described by many foreign observers and Western leaders as a “Silent Revolution”.
Erdoğan, in addition to his fruitful initiatives described as a turning point in the history of the country in its bid to join the EU, has taken significant steps toward the resolution of the Cyprus problem and toward the development of efficient relations with many countries through his rational foreign policy and intense series of visits and contacts.
The environment of stability established in the country, while moving the internal dynamics, has made Turkey a pivotal country. Turkey’s volume of trade and political power has remarkably increased not only in its region but also in the international arena.
Erdoğan, as the General Chairman of the AK Party, won a great victory during the parliamentary elections held on July 22, 2007 and established the 60th government of the Republic of Turkey by winning 46.6% of the votes and received the vote of confidence.
Erdoğan, winning 49% of the votes, arose triumphant at the end of the parliamentary elections held on June 12, 2011 and established the 61st government. Elected the 12th President on August 10, 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also the first President of the Republic of Turkey elected by popular vote.
Upon the approval of the constitutional amendment in a referendum on April 16 allowing the President to retain his/her party membership, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected at the 3rd Extraordinary Congress on May 21, 2017, as the Chairman of the AK Party, of which he is the founder.
First Lady Emine Erdoğan was born as Cemal and Hayriye Gülbaran’s fifth child and only daughter on February, 16 1955 in Istanbul. Mrs. Erdoğan, originally from Siirt, was educated at Istanbul Mithatpaşa Vocational Institute for Girls and has been actively involved in social activities since her youth.
She was among the founding members of the “Idealist Women’s Association”, which she named herself. She closely followed the events organized by the National Turkish Student Union and the Ladies Foundation for Science and Culture. With author Şule Yüksel Şenler’s contribution, she made a life-altering decision and dedicated herself to social projects.
During this period, she met Erdoğan and married him on July, 4 1978 and had been the greatest supporter of Erdoğan in his political struggles. She served as a founding member of the Provincial Women’s Branch Administrative Board of the Refah Party when Erdoğan was elected the Istanbul Provincial Head and she pioneered an era that paved the way for women’s active participation in politics in Turkey. She launched a women’s movement, which greatly contributed to the success of the Refah Party in the elections.
After her husband Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, she took part in various social responsibility projects. She contributed to the establishment of an aid corridor between different social groups by initiating the “iftar tables where the poor and the rich meet” tradition, which is still carried on by the mayoralties of AK Party.
Mrs. Erdoğan, who has two daughters and two sons, has always actively participated in the social and political life and continued her activities during her husband’s Premiership. She has practiced the spirit of philanthropy, inherited from her family, in all fields of her life and lent her helping hand to thousands of people. She led the foundation of the “Center for Social Development” (TOGEM) in 2005 and has supported important projects concerning the education of women and children.
With the Ministry of National Education, she launched a country-wide campaign to resolve the issue of the girls who were not allowed to go to school by their families. Almost 300 thousand girls have been provided with education through the campaign “Come on Girls, Let’s Go to School”. She continued her efforts in education with “Mothers and Daughters at School” campaign, which she named herself. Through the campaign, she solved the problems of mothers, who had not had the opportunity to learn to read and write.
She also struggled against physical abuse of children and child forced labor and supported several campaigns emphasizing the significance of education in early childhood such as the “7 is too late” campaign. By inviting First Ladies of various countries to these projects, she has enhanced the sphere of influence of these campaigns. She has tremendously contributed to the “Sister Family Project”, which has received a strong support and interest of the people across the country.
She supported the “Voluntary Envoys” project, developed by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies to promote volunteering in society and to harmonize public services. With the wives of the governors from all 81 provinces, she has led a campaign to improve the living conditions of the women, the elderly, the children, the disabled, the veterans and families of the martyrs. The project, which was awarded the “Golden Compass”, the academy award of public relations, in the best public project category, has attracted great interest among the projects cited by the UN. The project has continued under her auspices since 2012.
She along with the wives of the leaders in the region, has supported the international conferences held on the theme of “Women in Business Life” so that women can participate in business life more actively. Her efforts for more active participation of women in business world as well as politics have not been limited to her activities in the party.
She has encouraged women to take part in politics all over the country. She has supported and promoted the projects of many NGOs working to solve the problems of the women, the disabled and to provide healthcare and education.
First Lady Erdoğan has always expressed that she values Turkey’s accession to the EU for swift structural reforms in many areas in Turkey. In addition, she has paid attention to the cries rising from different geographies in the world, stood by the oppressed and the poor, and vehemently opposed violations of human rights. She has not remained silent in the face of the humanitarian tragedies in Gaza, Myanmar and Pakistan, and organized international events.