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He was born in İstanbul in 1954. Completed his education in İstanbul too. He is a graduate of Marmara University College of Business. Starting from teenage years he was interested in politics and business. He was also a professional soccer player. He was 15, when attended his political party's youth branch.

He found the spirit of entrepreneurship in business and the spirit of team in soccer. He always believed in meddling people from all sorts of walks of life in politics. Having them melted in one pot was his dream.

His success as a party chairman in İstanbul made him elected as mayor in 1994. While he was the city chairman of former Welfare Party in İstanbul, he had developed a new form of organization and had carried it out to the municipal management. He had set an example for all political parties in the country.

His openness to the development, his inquisitive personality and his determination to follow the tasks to be done, made him a role model in municipal management. By that, he brought new concepts and methods to the political structural system. During his term as a mayor, people used to call him; " the sound of the silent masses and the helper of the needy". He always worked for the poor.

People liked him a lot, and he was the most successful political figure in Turkey in many years. He was a good manager both in money and public administration, he had solved many complex infrastructure problems in the municipality, as a result he became a role model in the eyes of the public.

Now, Mr. Erdoğan as the leader of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) wants to canalize his big success in municipal administration to solve chronic problems of Turkey. He is the founder and the chairman of a new movement called " democratization and action".

He is married and has four children.

PRESS CONFERENCE...... ANKARA, Jan 7,2002 (Summary)

Distinguished Members of the Press;

Today we would like to come together with you to evaluate the year 2001. I would like to express my gratitude to you on behalf of myself, and my colleagues.

As you may already know, our party since the day of establishment is the number one party in the polls by a big margin. During our visits to Anatolia the people we had talked, demanded from us an evaluation of 2001, to show how bad the situation is in our country. Starting from today we are planning to do these evaluations every year.

As a political party, our main concern is to keep the credibility of political institutions. If such institutions lose their credibility and the politicians become ineffective when governing the society, then we can't talk about democracy being in good hands. Actually there is a direct correlation between the power of political institutions and democracy. Politicians, who are supposed to be the representatives of public, follow such lousy and inefficient ways in doing their jobs that corruption in social and political life become so common.

Actions taken by after 55th government were more of a "let it go" type not a real democratization program. National program that had been prepared under the compliance process to EU is not realistic. Current government's vision weakens Turkey's claim of a European State.

AK Party supports all policies that will bring contemporary standards to Turkey. We think any change in constitution is a positive start. For that reason our party voted all yes for the constitutional change process in the Great National Assembly. Other parties however rejected 3 articles out of 37. There are 57 new law drafts to be passed in the national program package. It is hard to say that all those laws to be passed in time and come to life immediately.

Today in Turkey, there still exists torture, maltreatment, human right violations and imprisonment because of thoughts. For that it is hard for us to make any progress in democratization process.

We have no objection to government's policy of which beneficial for the public. Current coalition government forces its members to vote yes to any proposal in the Assembly. Apparently TBMM (Turkish Great National Assembly) seems like to be controlled by the government, but it should be the other way around. TBMM is the only sovereign, law making body in the country.

Distinguished Members of the Press;

Turkey has to complete her homework and make all changes for the sake of democratization and modernization of the society. We need efficient, transparent, corruption free and determined political administration.

Turkey became one of the leading countries in the world in terms of human right violations and unjust income distribution. 2001 was the worst year in deep economical crisis in 50 years. Every step this government takes, harm our national peace. We get poorer and poorer every day. In two years thousands of villagers, workers, civil servants, artisans, businessman, industrialists and bankers lost their belongings, and many of them went bankrupt. First time in history, artisans protested the government on the streets. The scenes from the protests in Tandoğan Square had great resemblance to Argentina.

57th government's performance was below the average in educational policies. In the beginning, 8 years of compulsory education had aimed to reduce the number of students in the classroom, to promote full day schooling, to increase quality of language programs, to bring computers to the classroom by latest 2000. Unfortunately they failed to do so.

In year 2002, we still have waiting lines in front of the hospitals. Basic health needs still can't be satisfied even in big cities.

The government's plan on Eastern and Southeastern Turkey is a total failure. It is nothing but empty talk.

Public lowered its expectations from the politicians in year 2001. The most important happening of last year was the formation of AK Party. Now, people have hope for the coming elections.

International relations had a new era after September 11th tragic attack on World Trade Center. Today any country that provides home to people related with terrorism in a way should be ready to be attacked by those countries suffered from terrorism. This is the time of "cold peace".

Relations with EU are problematic in spite of government's optimistic explanations. In 1999 Helsinki Summit Turkish government made a commitment to solve Cyprus and Aegean issues. These were the preconditions for the EU membership. Nevertheless our commitment only helped Greek Part of Cyprus to be a full member to EU. In Nice Summit EU changed his mind and decided not to accept Turkey as an equal member. In Laecken last year Turkey was invited but it seems that there is no space for Turkey in the Union even after 2005.

AK Party condemns terror no matter what type. Surprisingly European countries classify terrorism into two: one that is harmful for their being, and the other beneficial for their interest. They don't mind the latter.

As a party we want Russian Federation to stop the blood shed in Chechnya. The government kept quiet for weeks on sending Turkish troops to Afghanistan. From the first day we claimed that Turkish troops must be in support services not in the front lines. Now the government came to the point where we were insistent. Now having courage from the victory in Afghanistan, USA wants to attack on Iraq. We hope that the prime minister brings that issue while visiting the USA.

Relations with our neighboring countries were not any better in 2001. Even the nationalist wing of the coalition government (MHP) performed poorly in relations with Turkic Republics.

Lack of trust to the government had worsened the situation last year. In developed countries the State is the trustworthiest institution. Continuity of the state is essential unlike changing government every now and then. When it comes to credit rating, again State gets the highest rating given in that country, for that reason state is the least costly institution to get credit. Unfortunately our country lost its credibility in the international arena and also lost support from its own people.

Last year the government signed stand-by agreement with IMF and started a 3 year economical reform program. Inflation could not be controlled and the interest rates climbed up to 7500%.

For a society economical growth rate is the best sign of development and welfare. The countries that had their independence in 1990's now had better conditions than Turkey. The economic growth rate was - %8.5. In other words this year our economy got % 8.5 smaller.

Public debt came to a point that the State should declare emergency. Public debt to GDP ratio is giving bad signals.

This government budget consists of interest payments. Heavy taxes and price increases every day go to finance the budget deficit. Public spending is way above the government revenues. In 2001 for each 100 Turkish Lira government collected, went 105 TL as interest payments. Public tax payments go to save the banks in bad conditions. Still the government did not take necessary precautions to privatize its enterprises.

Inflation rate was higher than ever last year. Majority of our population had never seen one digit inflation rate in their lives. Now the rate came to three digit levels.

Unjust income distribution threatens the country. According to State Statistics Institution (DİE) data; poorest %5 of the population owns %1 of the wealth. Richest %5 on the other hand, owns %30 of the wealth. The measurements taken to improve such distribution are insufficient. State Social Security Agency (SSK) and other Social services are not capable of handling this problem.

Official data shows that only last year 827,000 workers had lost their jobs. Unemployment is a more serious problem than any other year. Today approximately 2 million people have no jobs. First time in history white collared unemployment rate increased % 7.4 in one year.

The share of Agriculture in GNP is % 13.5, but its share in total employment is %40. Revenues in agricultural fields decreased 3 times in three years. Agriculture was ignored and there was no structural policy being implemented in three years.

Year 2001 was not a good year for the tradesman and the industrialists too. The credits were given with high interest rates, and many businesses trusted the government and had received credits in dollars before the crisis. As a result of horrendous increases in exchange rates, many of the businesses had to be closed last year. Car sales for instance dropped % 75 than 2000 sales.

In 2001 approximately 420,000 Small and Mid Size Firms were out of businesses. They constitute %98 of country's total businesses, %46 of employment and %37 of value added to the economy.

Industry consumes %50 of the electricity produced. As a result of recess electricity consumption reduced %1.4. In developed countries such consumption is expected to increase by two digit levels. Value Added tax for oil was increased from %8 to %18 and an extra
%5 of Oil consumption tax were added. Natural gas prices skyrocketed and many homeowners went back to the more primitive ways of heating and quit that resource.

One of the most problematic sectors in Turkey is banking. Actually this sector triggered the crisis last year. State could not control private banks to channel their savings to their own firms. Public banks losses are extremely high too. However the government insists upon saving some banks and transfer funds through Savings Insurance Fund.

Lack of confidence to the government, bureaucracy, and uncertainties in the economy cause foreign investments and credits leave the country. Turkey ranks in lasts according to UN Trade and Development Organization's 2001 reports on foreign credit attraction. Many foreign investors left the country last year.

Even though tourism and export revenues increased %13 (Jan-Sept. period) and %12.5( Jan-August period) respectively, revenues from workers abroad decreased %35.8 last year.

As it is briefly explained above, economical problems that Turkey faces today are difficult to solve. We as AK Party have solutions to such problems like the following:

v Political Willpower: Such willpower consist not only the government but also a method of combining domestic and foreign dynamics.
v Political Stability: Current government's understanding of shortsighted and dead politics can't be named as political stability. We need a stability that improves democracy and copes with crises.
v Credibility: Credibility means bringing Turkey's values in comply with the international realities. Turkey must stop emphasizing his geo-political importance in the world. Yes, especially after September 11, Turkey regained its importance in the region, this issue should not be brought to table every time as if we had nothing to say.
v Public Agreement: We need to come to a mutual understanding and agreement to make our country one of the most powerful sources in the new century.
v Honest Administration: Honesty should not only be a concept in our private lives. It should be an effective strategic element in politics and economy and it should definitely be institutionalized.

We are afraid that under this management 2002 will be a year of loss too. We as AK Party will continue to do our best in spite of all negativity from the government.

I say as my last words today "In a global world with unlimited alternatives and possibilities, Turkey should be a big flowing river, not just an ordinary branch".

Thank you for coming and thank you for your patience for listening to me. I greet you with my warmest regards.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Chairman of AK Party