A look back at Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan

Is he running a dictatorship or a democracy? That’s the question many are asking after a referendum in Turkey gave the country’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan unprecedented power.

As President Trump meets with him for first time, here’s a look at who he is and how he rose to power. (Yahoo News)

Watch video of “Erdogan’s rise to power” with Yahoo Global Correspondent Bianna Golodryga >>>

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Istanbul Mayor Tayyip Erdogan is mobbed by journalists while he inspects a public park in the north of Istanbul April 21, 1998. The state security court in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir sentenced mayor Erdogan, one of the most prominent Islamists, to 10 months in jail for “enciting hatred” in an address to Islamists supporters last year in the nearby town of Siirt. Erdogan dismisssed the verdict and said his lawyers had launched an appeal. (Fatih Saribas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R), flanked by his deputy Abdullah Gul (2nd-R) offers cake to members of the media, at the party headquarters in Ankara, early November 4, 2002, after his party claimed victory in Turkish elections. (Stringer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters wave
posters and flags as their leader and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
enters the hall where the first congress of AKP is gathered in Ankara
October 12, 2003. (Stringer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) chats with Chief Of Staff
General Hilmi Ozkok (L) during the opening ceremony of the Sixth
International Defence Industry, Aerospace and Maritime Fair (IDEF) in
Ankara, September 30, 2003. (Stringer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Stablemen and security agents try to stop a horse named Cihan from throwing
off Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during the opening of a
sightseeing park in Istanbul July 30, 2003. Prime Minister fell but escaped
unhurt from the incident. (Anatolian/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets party supporters celebrating their victory in the nationwide local elections in Ankara March 28, 2004. Turkey’s conservative ruling party won a strong mandate in Sunday’s local elections to press ahead with economic and political reforms aimed at taking the Muslim country of 70 million people into the European Union. (Stringer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, and his wife, Emine, stop to have the picture taken with a mountain background as they head back to their room at the annual Allen and Co.’s media conference Wednesday, July 6, 2005, in Sun Valley, Idaho. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

President Bush meets with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, on Monday, Oct. 2, 2006, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party at the parliament in Ankara, Tuesday, April 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug and commanders follow a guard of honor, not seen, at the mausoleum of modern Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2009. Erdogan joined top commanders for military’s highest annual meetings to promote officers or dismiss others for disciplinary reasons. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara January 5, 2010. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrive to address a news conference following their bilateral talks in Berlin October 9, 2010. (Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party during an election rally in Ankara on May 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the members of his ruling AK Party, as he stands in front of the portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, and himself during a meeting at his party headquarters in Ankara August 10, 2011. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Chief of Staff General Necdet Ozel pray in front of the coffin of Air Force Captain Gokhan Ertan as they attend his funeral after Friday prayers at Sehitlik Mosque in the eastern Turkish city of Malatya July 6, 2012. Erdogan and top military officials attend the funeral of the two pilots of the F-4 jet shot down by Syria last month. Relations between Ankara and Damascus hit a new low after Syria shot down the Turkish reconnaissance plane over the Mediterranean on June 22, prompting a sharp rebuke from Turkey, which said it would respond “decisively”. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan016_017_RTXZPB1

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) listens to U.S. President Barack Obama during a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden in Washington, May 16, 2013. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

People walk past a poster depicting Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that has been pasted by demonstrators at Taksim Square in Istanbul June 5, 2013. (Stoyan Nenov/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters as he arrives for a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara February 25, 2014. Erdogan said on Tuesday voice recordings purportedly of him telling his son to dispose of large sums of money on the day news broke of a graft inquiry were a “treacherous attack” on his office. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (3rd R) greets his supporters with his family members in Ankara March 31, 2014. Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP party appeared on Sunday to be heading for a clear victory in local polls that have become a referendum on a prime minister facing corruption scandals and security leaks he blames on “traitors” embedded in state bodies. Erdogan’s family members from L to R are his son-in-law Berat Albayrak, his daughter Esra Erdogan Albayrak, his wife Emine, his son Bilal and his daughter Sumeyye. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara May 20, 2014. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan throws flowers to his supporters next to his wife Emine during his visit in Cologne May 24, 2014. (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Supporters of Turkey’s Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tayyip Erdogan wave flags in a boat on their way to an election rally in Istanbul August 3, 2014. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan kisses a handmade Turkish flag, given to him as a gift from Ugandan university student Cemil (not pictured), during a graduation ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, June 11, 2015. (Umit Bektas/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

A grouse sits on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s head as he visits a facility of the Forest and Water Management Ministry in Rize, Turkey, August 14, 2015. (Stringer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters as his guards secure the stage during a rally for the upcoming referendum in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, April 1, 2017. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan enters a voting booth inside a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, on Sunday, April 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a rally a day after the referendum, outside the Presidential Palace, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, April 17, 2017. Turkey’s main opposition party urged the country’s electoral board Monday to cancel the results of a landmark referendum that granted sweeping new powers to Erdogan, citing what it called substantial voting irregularities. (Press Presidency Press Service via AP, Pool)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Sunday, May 14, 2017. (Thomas Peter/Pool Photo via AP)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hugs a woman during an event to honor those killed and wounded during the failed July 15 military coup, in Ankara, Turkey, late Friday, July 29, 2016. The government crackdown in the coup’s aftermath has strained Turkey’s ties with key allies including the United States. (AP Photo/Kayhan Ozer Presidential Press Service, via AP Pool)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and his wife Emine wave to the crowd during a Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. A massive crowd of flag-waving supporters gathered in Istanbul Sunday for a giant rally to mark the end of nightly demonstrations since Turkey’s July 15 abortive coup that left more than 270 people dead. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inspects a military honour guard as he arrives to address the parliament in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. Erdogan hinted on Thursday that the three-month state of emergency declared following the failed July 15 coup could be extended to over a year. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right and Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, hold a news conference following their meeting in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Putin and Erdogan voiced support for the construction of a gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey, called Turkish Stream, a project that was suspended amid tensions between the two countries. The pipeline would carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and onto European Union countries. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim talk during a ceremony for a new train station building on Republic Day in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, walks to meet the players prior to what the organizers said was a soccer match between Turkey’s soccer stars against terrorism, in Istanbul, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016. (AP Photo)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine disembark from a plane after arriving in Washington, Monday, May 15, 2017. Erdogan is scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday for talks expected to center on the friction between the two NATO allies over a U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters considered as terrorists by Turkey. (Presidency Press Service/Pool photo via AP)

A look back at Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) meets with U.S President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. May 16, 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)