In his teenage years, he adhered to the ethos of the Islamist movement of the time, which was anti-secular, anti-Western, proud of the Ottoman empire’s past grandeur, nationalist, and hostile to the elites of the Kemalist establishment.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was born in 1953 in Kasimpasa, a popular district of Istanbul, located below Pera, which is the Istanbul equivalent of the Parisian district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. The inhabitants of Kasimpasa are religious conservatives, while Pera is home to a cosmopolitan elite. The family of the young Recep Tayyip comes from a town near the Black Sea (Rize), with which the Erdogans maintain a close relationship. They are a pious family, neither very well-off (the father is captain of a ship on the Bosporus) nor very poor either, despite what the President of Turkey’s hagiographers tend to suggest.