Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who first took the reins of Turkey in 2003, stands as the longest-serving active politician among the Council of Europe’s 46 member states, considering all consecutive offices held, and excluding monarchs. The Council, established in Strasbourg in 1949, endorses democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, notably hosting the European Court of Human Rights.
Despite the Council’s principles, the enduring reigns of Erdogan and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev present a paradox. These leaders, while part of a body promoting democratic values, face criticism over their transgressions against these very principles, highlighting the complex realities the Council must navigate amongst its diverse member states.
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