Recep Tayyip Erdogan Fast Facts

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the extended meeting with provincial heads of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in Ankara, Turkey on October 10, 2019. (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN)Here's a look at the life of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, current president and former prime minister of Turkey.

Personal

Birth date: February 26, 1954
    Birth place: Istanbul, Turkey
      Birth name: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
      Father: Ahmet Erdogan, coastguard and sea captain
      Mother: Tenzile Erdogan
      Marriage: Emine (Gulbaran) Erdogan (July 4, 1978-present)
      Children: Two daughters and two sons
      Education: Marmara University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, 1981
      Religion: Muslim

      Other Facts

      Active in Islamist circles in the 1970s and 1980s.
      Before his political career, Erdogan was a semi-professional football (soccer) player.
      Erdogan is considered a polarizing figure: supporters say he has improved the Turkish economy and introduced political reform. Critics have accused Erdogan of autocratic tendencies, corruption and extravagance.
      Erdogan has also been heavily criticized for failing to protect women's and human rights, curbing freedom of speech and attempting to curb Turkey's secular identity.
      Under Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has lifted restrictions on public expression of religion, including ending the ban on women wearing Islamic-style headscarves.
      Has called social media "the worst menace to society."

      Timeline

      1984 - Elected as a district head of the Welfare Party.
      1985 - Elected as the Istanbul Provincial Head of the Welfare Party and becomes a member of the central executive board of the