Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

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There exists an unmistakable demand in the Middle East and in the wider Muslim world for democratization.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (born 26 February 1954), Istanbul is the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey (2003-2014), and is the President of the Republic of Turkey (2014-present).


  • Every instigator or madman, who will dare to raise his hand against the government, let him be sure that the government will chop it off.
    • Speech delivered after the military coup, 2016
  • Mr. Peres, you are older than I am. And your voice is genuinely loud. I know that it is because you are, in fact, in a psychology of feeling guilty, thus you better know that I will not sound that loud. And when killing is the case, you know how to kill very well. I know how you killed the children on the beaches, I know how you shot them. Two ex-PMs of your country once told me important things. You have had such prime ministers who said, "When I enter Palestine on a tank, I feel happy — in a different way." You have had PMs who said to me "I feel happy when I am on a tank while entering Palestine." And you give me those numbers. I would release their names, in case some of you might be curious of. I also condemn those who acclaim this cruelty, because I think it is a crime against humanity as well.
    • As quoted during a discussion panel at 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, in "Turkish PM storms off in Gaza row", BBC (January 29, 2009)
  • There is but one alternative for Turkey. Either African barbarism, under Arabian direction, will burst around its head like an avalanche, or else it must re-establish strong leadership, thus putting twenty million heroes between itself and Africa and gaining a breathing spell for the accomplishment of its social regeneration.
    • As said during the EU-Turkey Summit
  • In my country there are 170,000 Armenians. Seventy thousand of them are citizens. We tolerate 100,000 more. So, what am I going to do tomorrow? If necessary I will tell the 100,000: OK, time to go back to your country. Why? They are not my citizens. I am not obliged to keep them in my country.
  • You cried out when 50,000 refugees were at the Kapikule border... You started asking what you would do if Turkey would open the gates. Look at me — if you go further, those border gates will be open. You should know that.
  • I am calling on my citizens, my brothers and sisters in Europe. Don’t have just three children; have five. The place in which you are living and working is now your homeland and new motherland. Stake a claim in it. Open more businesses, enroll your children in better schools, have your families live in better neighborhoods, drive the best cars, live in the most beautiful houses. That's because you are the future of Europe. It will be the best answer to the vulgarism, antagonism and injustices made against you.

"Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: on NATO expansion", 2022


"Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: on NATO expansion", The Economist (May 30, 2022)

  • The war in Ukraine challenged conventional wisdom about the rules-based international order, great power competition and Euro-Atlantic security. The most recent developments also breathed new life into NATO, arguably the greatest military alliance in history.
  • Turkey has been a proud and indispensable NATO ally for 70 years. Our country joined the alliance in 1952, having sent troops to Korea in defence of democracy and freedom. During the cold war and in its aftermath, Turkey has been a stabilising power and a force for good in the Middle East, the Caucasus and the Black Sea regions. Turkish troops, too, have deployed to many parts of the world, from Kosovo to Afghanistan, as part of NATO missions.
  • At the same time, our country invested billions of dollars in its defence industry, bolstering its defensive capacity. That additional capacity resulted in the development of military products that have made their impact in various theatres of war, including Ukraine.
  • Indeed, Turkey’s increased capacity has also contributed to NATO’s resilience and strength. Whereas our partners have always appreciated Turkish contributions to NATO’s collective security mission, they quickly forgot about them when there were no threats to their national security. Our partners who only remember Turkey’s importance in turbulent times, such as the crisis in the Balkans, mistakenly thought that long-term stability could be achieved without Turkey. Thus, after the elimination of the immediate threat, they disregarded geopolitical realities and the potential threats that might emerge in the region. Needless to say, such pipe dreams turned out to be short-lived as a result of international crises.
  • The threats against international peace and security changed in recent years and that led many to believe that NATO was an “obsolete” organisation that ceased to serve its purpose. Emmanuel Macron even said in 2019 that the alliance was experiencing “brain death”. The same folks questioned Turkey’s role within NATO. That blend of extraordinary wishful thinking and extreme strategic myopia cost the alliance many years.
  • Nonetheless, Turkey refused to believe that the shortsighted and occasionally reckless attitudes of certain member states reflected the position of NATO as a whole. Quite the contrary, we stressed NATO’s importance and called on member states to take necessary steps, that included updating NATO’s missions to cover emerging threats and making the organisation more relevant for new geopolitical and global challenges. That call was in line with our nation’s response to the international system’s deepening instability, too.
  • In this sense, Turkey argued that NATO—like all other international organisations—had to implement certain reforms to cope with emerging security threats. Specifically on terrorism, the lack of collective action, in spite of direct attacks against many member states, undermined security co-operation and fuelled deep distrust among the citizens of NATO countries about the organisation. Turkey highlighted that trend at all NATO summits and maintained that international co-operation was vital for transforming the fight against terrorism. We wanted NATO to co-operate better on intelligence and military issues when dealing with terror organisations, not only to prevent terrorist attacks but also to curb terrorist financing and recruitment within NATO borders. We remain committed to that position.
  • Likewise, we made legitimate and necessary demands upon NATO, as multiple civil wars broke out in Turkey’s neighbourhood, to ensure the security of our borders and airspace as well as human security, as the largest refugee wave since World War II had emerged in the region. Largely abandoned, our country dealt with all those crises by itself and paid a high price during that effort. Ironically, any steps taken under the NATO umbrella would have prepared the alliance for future conflicts and crises at its borders.
  • The new state of affairs, which emerged out of the war in Ukraine, proves that Turkey’s expectations and calls were accurate. Certain member states, which suddenly appreciated Turkey’s geopolitical positioning as that conflict caused widespread disruption, saw that our nation had been right to take certain steps in the past. Turkey was right to ask NATO members to prepare for coming geopolitical challenges and, in spite of those who argued that NATO was irrelevant, Turkey was absolutely right to state that the organisation would be increasingly important.
  • As all NATO allies accept Turkey’s critical importance to the alliance, it is unfortunate that some members fail fully to appreciate certain threats to our country. Turkey maintains that the admission of Sweden and Finland entails risks for its own security and the organisation’s future. We have every right to expect those countries, which will expect NATO’s second-largest army to come to their defence under Article 5, to prevent the recruitment, fundraising and propaganda activities of the PKK, which the European Union and United States consider a terrorist entity.
  • Turkey wants the candidate countries to curb the activities of all terrorist organisations and extradite the members of these organisations. We provided clear evidence to the authorities in these countries and waited for action from them. Also Turkey wants these countries to support the anti-terror operations of NATO members. Terrorism is a threat for all members and the candidate countries should recognise this reality before joining. Unless they take necessary steps, Turkey will not change its position on this issue.
  • Furthermore, Turkey stresses that all forms of arms embargoes—such as the one Sweden has imposed on my country—are incompatible with the spirit of military partnership under the NATO umbrella. Such restrictions not only undermine our national security but also damage NATO’s own identity. Sweden’s and Finland’s uncompromising insistence on joining the alliance has added an unnecessary item to NATO’s agenda.
  • Turkey’s objection to the admission of Sweden and Finland, which remained neutral up until the most recent developments, represents a decisive step taken on behalf of all nations that have been targeted by terrorist organisations to date. At the end of the day, terrorism has no religion, nation or colour. That each member state decisively stands up to any organisation that aims to harm the civilian population is one of NATO’s core aims. No country enjoys any privilege in that regard.
  • When it comes to solving problems and promoting global peace and security, there may not always be shortcuts. Yet the path to success could be shortened by taking bold and necessary steps along the way. Where Sweden and Finland stand on the national security concerns and considerations of other countries, with which they would like to be allies, will determine to what extent Turkey would like to be allies with those states.
  • The ignorance and obtrusiveness of those who dare to question the relationship between Turkey, which has adopted a positive and constructive approach regarding the alliance’s expansion in the past, and NATO does not change our stance. Our country, which is open to all forms of diplomacy and dialogue, strongly recommends that such focus be directed instead to persuading the candidates to change their positions. There is no authority in Ankara that can be told what to do by any country that is unwilling to fight terrorism. We believe that the reputation and the credibility of the alliance will be at risk if NATO members follow double standards in regard to the fight against terrorism.



Dialogue with an unemployed

Citizen: She mentions that she can't find a job.
Erdoğan: They're (Those who cannot retire due to age [EYT]) all looking for abuse. There is no early retirement. Do you know how many retirement age in Europe?
Citizen: We cannot find a job sir! I'm really two college graduates but I'm unemployed now.
Erdoğan: What is your husband doing?
Citizen: He's working now.
Erdoğan: Did you see?[1]

Dialogue with a farmer

Farmer(Mustafa Kemal Öncel): What's going to happen to the farmer! How dare you come here! (Upon Erdoğan's call) I coming, coming! Prime Minister of my state! Coming... (Upon the request to control the guards) I don't have anything. Be relax...
Erdoğan: Don't yell! Don't be rude!
Farmer: I didn't rude! Please don't insult me! (When one of the guards holds his arm) Aaahh! My arm is operated!
Erdoğan: Don't artistry.
Farmer: I'm not artistrying. I'm not artist.
Erdoğan: You're a good artist! Don't be rude!
Farmer: Do you know your Minister of Agriculture has break the law?
Erdoğan: (Lowered his voice) Ulan don't be rude!
Farmer: Ulan?
Erdoğan: Yep! Don't be rude!
Farmer: Ulan? No problem!
Erdoğan: Don't teach me the constitution! Do you realize what you're given to the farmer right now?
Farmer: What time?
Erdoğan: Now!
Farmer: After my crop died? We've hadding trouble for two years.
Farmer: (While being taken by cops) Don't call ulan to me! Shame! Who shoots? Who shoots? Why did you shoot to me? Look, I called "Mr. Prime Minister", he called "ulan" to me! He doesn't have the power to come face to face to me! (For the questions of journalists) My name is Mustafa Kemal Öncel! Follow me! Be the voice of the people![2]


  • Turkey’s president is blackmailing the United States by threatening to curb his country’s support for the international coalition against the Islamic State. His goal: to ensure my extradition, despite a lack of credible evidence and virtually no prospect for a fair trial. The temptation to give Mr. Erdogan whatever he wants is understandable. But the United States must resist it.
    • Fethullah Gülen, "Fethullah Gulen: I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy", The New York Times (July 26, 2016)
  • How would the world respond if a European prime minister called for the mass deportation of all Turks? Yet Erdogan's xenophobic demagoguery attracted precisely no condemnation from Washington or Brussels. He probably overestimated the number of "tolerated" economic refugees from neighboring and former Soviet Armenia, but is it not interesting that he keeps a count in his head? And a count of the tiny number of surviving Turkish Armenians as well? The outburst strengthens the already strong case for considering Erdogan to be somewhat personally unhinged.
  • There was a young fellow from Ankara
    Who was a terrific wankerer
    Till he sowed his wild oats
    With the help of a goat
    But he didn’t even stop to thankera.
  • Turkey doesn’t understand that, for the United States, buying a sophisticated Russian air defense system is a major national security issue that can’t be papered over. But Americans don’t understand that all their tough talk about leveling sanctions against Turkey if the Russian arms sale goes through only plays into Turkish leaders’ hands politically...
    Speaking at a forum on Ankara-Washington relations hosted by the Hudson Institute in Washington, Hudson fellow Blaise Misztal said that, to President Tayyip Erdogan and his political coalition partners, “sanctions and kicking you out of 'NATO is a winning policy” because it fuels long-standing and growing anti-Americanism in their nationalist-leaning array of parties. Since 2014, and particularly after a failed coup attempt in 2016 that many Turks believe was known in Washington before it was launched, Erdogan “is becoming closer to [Vladimir] Putin, [[[Bashar al-Assad|Bashir al] Assad]], Iran and China” to burnish his nationalist credentials, Misztal said. As an example of how this plays out, Erdogan told his parliament Wednesday the nation is “passing through a very critical period, from economy to security.” He warned about plotters still inside its borders and their outside supporters. At the same time as Erdogan spoke, a Turkish newspaper reported the defense ministry is sending troops to Russia to receive familiarization training for the S-400 air defense system.
  • Unfortunately, it is not enough to be right in the current world order; you need to be mighty as well. The criticism Erdoğan has been directing to the existing world order for years by stating that the world is bigger than five has actualized. Erdoğan has thus revealed de facto that justice cannot be expected from the current world order. You do not demand rights from this world order, you take it.

See also

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