[359], Early during his prime ministership, Erdoğan was praised as a role model for emerging Middle Eastern nations due to several reform packages initiated by his government which expanded religious freedoms and minority rights as part of accession negotiations with the European Union. [63] In 2017, this period of Erdoğan's life was made into a film titled Reis.[64]. [283], Amid false claims that the Turkish government funds IS fighters, several Kurdish demonstrations broke out near the Turkish-Syrian border in protest against the government's inactivity. Guns and violence will become the sole alternative for legally expressing free thought". [238] The number of Turkish journalists jailed by Turkey is higher than any other country, including all of those journalists currently jailed in North Korea, Cuba, Russia, and China combined. [74], In the June 2011 elections, Erdoğan's governing party won 327 seats (49.83% of the popular vote) making Erdoğan the only prime minister in Turkey's history to win three consecutive general elections, each time receiving more votes than the previous election. [215][216], Erdoğan has also received criticism for the construction of a new palace called Ak Saray (pure white palace), which occupies approximately 50 acres of Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) in Ankara.

The U.S. Congress has made clear on a bipartisan basis that it expects the president to sanction Turkey for buying Russian equipment. [364] This proved controversial, since it was perceived to be an open attack against the republican nature of modern Turkey founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

[88] Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian rejected the offer because he asserted that the proposal itself was "insincere and not serious".

Contrary to expectations, the government responded harshly to former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt's e-memorandum, stating the military had nothing to do with the selection of the presidential candidate.[146]. [121] Erdoğan supported Finance Minister Ali Babacan in enforcing macro-economic policies. By the next day, Erdoğan's government managed to reassert effective control in the country. On 1 August 2018, the U.S. Department of Treasury sanctioned two senior Turkish government ministers who were involved in the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Erdoğan became prime minister in March 2003 after the Gül government ended his political ban. This turned out to be successful as the new party won 34% of the vote in the general elections of 2002.

[159], Erdoğan has said that Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan should apologize for calling on school children to re-occupy eastern Turkey.

[200] Erdoğan has also stated his intention to pursue a more active role as president, such as utilising the President's rarely used cabinet-calling powers.

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