He is the country's first elected president who has been at the forefront of Turkish politics for more than a decade. Raziye Akkoc takes a look at his humble beginnings as the former AKP leader prepares for June's general election
There is an argument that the Turkish economy was always on course to improve but to many in Turkey, the country's current status is thanks to Mr Erdoğan. This may perhaps change as the lira's value against the dollar continues to decline.
Not since Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, has a figure dominated Turkish politics for so long. Now there is a growing atmosphere Turkish citizens cannot insult their leader - recently, Mr Erdoğan's critics and opponents are dealt with harshly.
From the arrest of a 16-year-old for insulting the president to Miss Turkey finding herself in trouble for sharing a poem critical of Mr Erdoğan, critics say the growth of his power correlates with a crackdown on free speech. This extends to what even the public can say about the president, his opponents add.
It can be hard to walk a few seconds in Turkey without seeing a portrait of Ataturk - such is the passion for the founder of the modern republic (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
From Rize to Istanbul, from football to politicsMr Erdoğan was born on February 26, 1954 in Kasımpaşa, but spent part of his childhood in Rize, a city on Turkey's Black Sea coast in the north-east. Before he was born, his family had previously migrated from Batumi, Georgia.
The president's father had been a coastguard in Rize until the family decided to return to Istanbul.
Mr Erdoğan sold lemonade and sesame buns, referred to as "simit" in Turkey, to contribute money to his family.
He attended Kasımpaşa Piyale primary school in 1960 and attended Istanbul Imam Hatip School (a religious vocational secondary school) until 1973.
Between 1969 and 1982, he played local football and when he was 16, he is believed to have transferred to amateur league football.
During that period he also played for Kasımpaşa Spor and Turkish media have reported that Fenerbahce, one of the country's best teams, wanted to sign him but his father is said to have opposed it.
Kasımpaşa Spor's stadium is named after him and towards the end of last year, Hurriyet Daily News reported Trabzonspor was also planning to call their stadium Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Last year, the then-prime minister showed he still had his football skills (as seen above) and scored a hat-trick during a friendly game with Turkish artists and singers in Istanbul in July.
Once a footballer, always a footballer... (EPA)
He was involved in politics from a young age and according to his website, he was part of the National Turkish Students’ Association during his high school years and while he was at Marmara University.
In 1978, he married Emine Gulbaran with whom he has two daughters, Esra and Sümeyye; and two sons, Necmettin Bilal and Ahmet Burak.
According to Arda Baykal in a House of Commons Library report, his "political career started when he was elected president of the Beyoğlu Youth Branch of the National Salvation Party (MSP—Milli Selamet Partisi), an Islamist political party in 1970s that was closed down after the 1980 military coup".
During that coup, the president worked as an accountant and as a manager in the private sector.
He graduated from the university with a degree in business administration in 1981.
From student politics to being imprisonedIt was during his time at university that he met Necmettin Erbakan, the former prime minister of Turkey. Erbakan was Turkey's first Islamist PM and through him, Mr Erdoğan entered Islamist politics. The late Erbakan was a mentor to the young student.
Necmettin Erbakan (Reuters)
Three years after the military coup, the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) was established and in 1984, Mr Erdoğan became the Beyoğlu district chairman of the party.
The following year Mr Erdoğan became the party's Istanbul provincial head and a member of the central executive board.
Ahmet Han, a board member of Turkish think tank Edam, told the Telegraph "[Mr] Erdoğan represented the 'street Islam' (the classical political Islamists of Turkey’s national outlook movement of Necmettin Erbakan)."
But real power came in 1994 when he was elected mayor of Istanbul - the first Islamist in that role. During his time as mayor, even his critics said Mr Erdoğan proved to be a "competent and canny manager" and dealt effectively with environmental problems, making the city "greener".
Being an Islamist in this period was not without issues and in December 1997, Mr Erdoğan found himself sentenced to 10 months in jail for inciting religious hatred when he read a poem in the eastern Turkish city of Siirt with the following lines:
The mosques are our barracks,
The domes our helmets,
The minarets our bayonets,
and the faithful our soldiers...
He read the poem by Ottoman Islamist poet Ziya Gőkalp - which judges felt went against Kemalist - secularist - principles - during a demonstration against the decision by the Turkish constitutional court to shut down the Welfare Party. The court said the party was banned "on the grounds of threatening the Kemalist nature of Turkey, especially secularity".
The president, who had to resign as mayor when sentenced, served his time in prison between March and July in 1999.
From prison to prime minister to presidentIn 2001, Mr Erdoğan founded - with friends including former Turkish president Abdullah Gul - the Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials, AKP).
In November 2002, the party became Turkey's largest with 34.3 per cent of the vote but Mr Erdoğan could not participate because of his criminal conviction.
By March 2003, AKP used their success to amend the constitution and in the home city of his wife, Siirt, he ran in a by-election and subsequently won.
He took over as prime minister that month from Abdullah Gul and stayed in the role until August 2014. Last year, Mr Erdoğan was chosen as Turkey's first elected president.