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Three Powerful Men Decide Turkey's Future

Kadri Gursel writes on the three men who are critical to Turkey’s future: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned head of the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK]; and Fethullah Gulen, exiled head of the Gulen Sunni movement.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan leaves a wreath-laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, in Ankara August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY) - RTR35TGQ
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Turkey’s future is to be decided by the nation's three most powerful men, by the equilibrium they shape among themselves and by deals they forge with each other.

The first and the most powerful is already at the zenith of political power: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is also the most powerful, most capable civilian leader after the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. His colleagues who know from his younger days speak of him as “reis,” [''president'' in formal usage and ''chief'' colloquially]. The people who joined him at his current post call him “patron” [the boss]. In official bureaucratic milieu, among party members and businessmen close to him he is “beyefendi” [sir or esquire]. Not only is he the most powerful man of Turkey, but because he enjoys exercising his power and doesn’t want to share it with anyone else, he is a personality that instills fear in his party AKP, in the state structure and the society.

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