A R C H I V E S
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|Erdogan, from Toast Seller to Party Leader|
|11/04/02 at 09:05:13|
May He (swt) bless those who are sincere in their effors to improve the wellbeing of others.
Erdogan, from Toast Seller to Party Leader
Erdogan rose from selling toasted bread in the streets of Istanbul to the helm of Turkey’s strongest political party
By Saad Abdul-Majid, IOL Turkey Correspondent
ANKARA, November 3 (IslamOnline) – Receb Tayeb Erdogan, leader of the moderate Islamic Justice and Development Party (AK), rose from selling toasted bread in the streets of Istanbul to the helm of the political party that won Sunday, November 3, an overwhelming general election victory, sweeping aside the three-party coalition of outgoing prime minister Bulent Ecevit.
During a TV debate with Deniz Baqal, leader of the Republican Party, on the eve of Turkish general elections, Erdogan said that he sold toasted bread in the streets of Istanbul to save money for his education fees.
"I worked hard to double my sales from 100 toast pieces to 200," he proudly said.
Erdogan graduated from a religious high school, then joined the Faculty of Commerce, Marmarah University. During his early age, he joined the National Safety Party (NSP), led by veteran Islamic leader Necmettin Erbakan, in the early seventies.
He also worked as NSP announcer and reporter during party rallies in different Turkish governorates. In 1985, Erdogan headed the Welfare Party branch in Istanbul. He was nominated twice, within the party's lists, for parliamentary elections, in 1978 and 1991, but he failed to make it.
In 1994, he was nominated as the head of the Welfare Party, to head the Istanbul Municipality and he succeeded, becoming the mayor of the city for four years
He was then sentenced for a one-year jail term for reciting poetry by Islamic poet Mohamad Akef. Erdogan served the sentence and quit the post as Istanbul's mayor in 1999, a year before his term in office ended.
He was successful as the head of the Municipality – one of the most important and wealthiest in Turkey, and was able – in a short period of time – to transform the municipality from a state of bankruptcy with a 2-billion-dollar-debt to profit and an investment increase of 12 billion dollars.
During the same period, he managed to transform Istanbul into a clean city after supporting public street workers by increasing their pay and tending to their social needs.
Erdogan helped solve many problems in Istanbul like the water-shortage issue. He further carried out social services such as providing food aid, money and clothes to the poor and needy during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and in other Islamic occasions. He would personally head the teams to supervise the distribution of these aids on the families.
He was the first to set up public Iftar (breaking the fast) tables during the holy month of Ramadan that would offer hot meals for those who could not make it to their homes before the time of Iftar.
In addition, as part of the programs of the Welfare party, Erdogan granted financial scholarship at the start of the academic year and he would also take part in soccer matches, organized by the municipality for youth.
Erdogan completed a huge project of planting one million trees in Istanbul in a bid to protect the environment. He also created family picnic areas.
After the emergence of the modernist wing in the banned Virtue Party in 2001, Erdogan came at the head of this wing and was hence chosen as the head of the Justice and Development party (AK) which included the modernists.
He then nominated himself for parliament membership, but the Prosecutor General asked the Diar Bakr court to refuse to cancel the prison term from his criminal records, claiming there is an additional penalty to this sentence stipulating that he can not take part in political life for three years. The Cassation Court agreed to the Prosecutor General’s and canceled the ruling of the Supreme Court in Diar Bakr to allow Erdogan to cancel the sentence from his criminal records.
On October 17, Erdogan resigned as a founding member of the AK, in the wake of a demand by Turkey's Constitutional Council in April that he steps down as founding member of the party by October 19.
Erdogan asserted that the court ruling was related to his founding membership in the AK and not his presidency of the party.
Turkish Prosecutor General Sobeih Qanad Uglo announced at the time he would file a new lawsuit before the Constitutional Court to force Erdogan to resign the leadership of the AK based on the sentence issued against him in 1999 which banned him from practicing political activity for three years.
Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board