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What you need to know about Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan



  • Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved with deadly speed and purpose into Syria after Donald Trump pulled US troops from the country in early October.
  • Trump and US officials have since tried in desperation to sway Erdogan from shelling and displacing thousands of Kurds, but have so far only succeeded in gaining a short-term ceasefire.
  • Through a series of power moves Erdogan has outmaneuvered Trump, highlighting the dwindling power of the US in the Middle East.
  • Erdogan rose through the ranks of Turkish politics to centralize power in the president’s office, and has taken Turkey from a country constantly on the verge of coup to a sturdy, authoritarian regime.
  • Here’s everything we know about Turkey’s commander in chief.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan took full advantage of the fallout from Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops from northern Syria in early October.

Turkish forces swooped into northern Syria soon after, displacing thousands of Kurds and killing dozens.

Trump was slammed by officials in his own Republican party, who considered the withdrawal a betrayal of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which fought alongside US troops to defeat ISIS in Syria.

In turn, Erdogan has resisted hurried attempts from the US to secure a ceasefire, humiliating Trump on Thursday, after a letter from the US president warning him not to be a “tough guy” was put straight “in the bin,” according to the BBC.

Here’s the full story of Turkey’s commander in chief, who inherited his country in a state of constant coup or rebellion, and turned it into an authoritarian one-leader, one-party powerhouse straddling the Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

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