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.


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."


        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 party.
        1994-1998 - Mayor of Istanbul.
        1998 - The Welfare Party is banned. Erdogan serves four months in prison for inciting religious hatred after reciting a controversial poem.
        August 2001 - Co-founds the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).
        2002-2003 - Erdogan's AKP wins the majority of seats in parliamentary elections, and he is appointed prime minister.
        2003-2014 - Serves as prime minister.
        June 2011 - AKP wins by a wide margin in the parliamentary elections, securing a third term for Erdogan.
        June 2013 - Anti-government demonstrations target Erdogan's policies, including his plan to turn a park into a mall, and call for political reforms. Thousands are reported injured in the clashes.
        December 2013 - Corruption probe begins which investigates more than 50 suspects, including members of Erdogan's inner circle. The following month, the government dismisses 350 police officers amid the investigation. Ten months later, the prosecutor drops the inquiry.
        March 2014 - After Erdogan threatens to "eradicate" Twitter at a campaign rally, Turkey bans the social media site, and a two-week countrywide blackout ensues.
        August 10, 2014 - Erdogan is elected president during the first-ever direct elections in Turkey.
        November 2014 - At a summit hosted by a women's group in Istanbul, Erdogan says that women and men are not equal "because their nature is different." It's not the first time the Turkish leader has made controversial comments about women: previously, he told Turkish university students that they shouldn't be "picky" when choosing a husband and has called on all Turkish women to have three children.
        June 7, 2015 - In Turkey's parliamentary elections, AKP wins 41% of the vote.
        July 15-16, 2016 - During an attempted coup by a faction of the military, at least 161 people are killed and 1,140 wounded. Erdogan addresses the nation via FaceTime and urges people to take to the streets to stand up to the military faction behind the uprising. He blames the coup attempt on cleric and rival Fethullah Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania.
        April 16, 2017 - A vote is held on a constitutional amendment expanding Erdogan's presidential powers. Turkish state media report that about 51% of people voted yes on the referendum, which abolishes the country's parliamentary system and would potentially allow for Erdogan to remain in office until 2029. International election monitors question whether the election was free and fair, citing last-minute rule changes, the muzzling of opposition voices and the dominance of the "yes" campaign in the media. Opposition leaders in the Republican People's Party say that they plan to challenge the election results in court.
        May 16, 2017 - Erdogan meets US President Donald Trump at the White House. During a joint news conference, Erdogan praises Trump's electoral victory and vows to help the United States fight terrorism. After the two men speak, demonstrators protest outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador. Nine people are injured when Turkish security guards rush into a line of protestors and kick people on the ground. Law enforcement sources tell CNN that some of the men involved in the fight were Erdogan's bodyguards.
        October 12, 2017 - Erdogan accuses the United States of sacrificing its relationship with Turkey in a speech made days after the arrest of a US consular staff member and the announcement that he refuses to recognize the authority of US Ambassador John Bass. Erdogan blames Bass and other officials left over from the