Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was voted Man of the Year readers of CNN’s Arabic language website. Erdogan won the honor by a large margin, receiving 74% of the vote.
His nearest competitor was Syrian President Bashar Assad, who received 20% of the vote. CNN Arabic, based in Dubai, stated that the results of the poll represent the “general mood of the Arab street,” which has seen a rise in Erdogan’s popularity since the events surrounding the Israeli raid of the Mavi Marmara and the diplomatic tensions between Turkey and Israel that followed.
The website added that Erdogan was hailed in the Arab world for returning Turkey’s allegiance to the East after decades of trying to “join the European club.”
Erdogan’s position as a mediator between Iran and the West was also cited as a key reason for the Turkish prime minister’s popularity in the Arab world.
He was also seen as important in combating Syria’s isolation in the region that arose in the aftermath of the Rafik Hariri assassination. The Jerusalem Post reported.