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When I respond, or seek responses, I think of the Internet Republic and the people [[whump]] and the places who have made our water world Eden brave and free and fair. Permitted, required, and impossible. Stand alone or stand with, whose choice to what degree [[Thn/]] O[[thn/]]ne water world Eden under "We the people" – created by whom?

You, R. Erdogan & You, Ikhwan – in sha lah Screen Shot 2011-12-25 at 7.53.44 PM

R. Erdogan & Ikhwan - in sha lah Screen Shot 2011-12-25 at 7.53.44 PM

R. #Erdogan & #Ikhwan ? – in sha lah ? http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/e/recep_tayyip_erdogan/index.html
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Updated: Nov. 22, 2011

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister of Turkey in 2003. The leader of an Islamic movement, he has successfully challenged the nation’s secular elite, and pushed the military out of its longstanding role as guardian of the country’s secular governing tradition.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Updated: Nov. 22, 2011

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became prime minister of Turkey in 2003. The leader of an Islamic movement, he has successfully challenged the nation’s secular elite, and pushed the military out of its longstanding role as guardian of the country’s secular governing tradition.

The ruling power in Turkey is Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym AK. But the undisputed force in the country is Mr. Erdogan (pronounced ERR-doh-ahn). The former mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998, he was a semiprofessional soccer player and is a favorite son of Kacimpasha, a neighborhood in Istanbul known for its tough and outspoken men (and women, too, some say).

The prime minister’s conservative party won a clear victory in parliamentary elections in June 2011 with a strong showing that critics worry might be used to further consolidate its power after nearly a decade of rule and to circumscribe civil liberties and its political opposition. The results, though, failed to provide the absolute majority that the party wanted to push for major changes, including a shift to a presidential system and the drafting of a new constitution. His party will now have to work to forge consensus with its opposition.

But in July, the mass resignation of the top military leadership stunned the nation and opened new possibilities for Mr. Erdogan, by removing the biggest danger he had to face — a powerful military willing to act above the law.

At the same time, the sudden change raised fears that what many critics call a creeping authoritarian streak under Mr. Erdogan could accelerate. Mr. Erdogan is not only free to reshape the military, but has a much better chance of winning constitutional changes that could alter politics here for decades.

Even before the resignations, Mr. Erdogan had carved out a newly muscular role for Turkey in foreign policy, openly challenging the way the United States manages its two most pressing issues in the region, Iran’s nuclear program and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The shift has made him a hero to the Arab world, but raised questions about whether Turkey would abandon its lengthy effort to join the European Union.

In the spring of 2011, as Libya descended into rebellion and violent stalemate, Mr. Erdogan tried to play the role of mediator, but won only the distrust of the rebels and the government. On May 3, he took sides decisively, declaring that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had chosen “blood, tears, oppression” and must “immediately step down.”

Mr. Erdogan has been particularly outspoken in his criticism of the repressive government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Once one of Syria’s’s closest allies, Turkey has been providing shelter to the commander and members of the Free Syrian Army, an insurgency against President Assad, allowing them to orchestrate attacks across the border from inside a camp guarded by the Turkish military.

In response, in early November 2011, pro-Assad demonstrators in Syria attacked Turkish diplomatic missions in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, burning Turkish flags and shattering windows.

On Nov. 21, unidentified gunmen in Syria, described by some witnesses as wearing the uniforms of Syrian soldiers, attacked a convoy of buses carrying Turkish pilgrims home from Mecca, and two of the pilgrims were wounded. They were the first Turkish civilian victims of the mayhem in Syria.

On Nov. 22, 2011, Mr. Erdogan expressed his most blunt criticism yet of Syria’s political repression, when for the first time he urged President Assad to resign. The criticism was not totally unexpected, given Mr. Erdogan’s increasing exasperation with Mr. Assad’s intransigence over the political uprising against him. But Mr. Erdogan’s comments were notable for their explicit language; he likened Mr. Assad to the self-delusional dictators of history who have met violent and messy ends, most recently Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya.

A Man of Many Contrasts

Mr. Erdogan’s vision of economic interdependence has led to friction with Washington, particularly over Iran, Turkey’s only alternative energy source after Russia. Mr. Erdogan’s confrontation with Israel, which he accused of “state terrorism” in the June 2010 flotilla raid off Gaza, raised the loudest alarms for Americans. Many saw his fiery statements — a sharp contrast to years of friendly relations with Israel — as a sign that he had not only abandoned the quest to join the European Union, but was also aligning himself with Islamic rivals of the West.

Mr. Erdogan rose from a tough-talking Istanbul mayor representing a rising underclass of religious Turks. He is seen as a confounding mix, from a background of political Islam but with an agenda of bringing Turkey into the European Union, where his supporters do most of their business. Mr. Erdogan’s greatest legacy so far is an economy that has more than tripled since 2002 and whose exports have gone to $114 billion a year from $36 billion. Europe remains its pre-eminent market, but its businessmen have plied Ottoman trade routes with a sense of unabashed optimism at untapped markets. Many hail from Anatolia, sharing the party’s ideology of social conservatism and economic liberalism, with a hint of nostalgia for the old empire.

Mr. Erdogan, though a pragmatist, is also a devout Muslim, a category that was once the underdog in secular Turkish society, and sympathy for the Palestinians is ingrained. He is hotheaded, with a street fighter’s swagger that becomes more pronounced in crises. He took personal offense, for example, when Ehud Olmert, then Israel’s prime minister, began bombing Gaza without warning, while Mr. Erdogan was mediating talks between Israel and Syria.

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You, R. Erdogan & You, Ikhwan – in sha lah Screen Shot 2011-12-25 at 7.53.44 PM

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