The person who we love to hate and hate to love – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has been selected as the People’s Choice for Time’s 2011 Person of the Year.
According to the annual poll, Erdogan received 122,928 votes nominating him as the most influential person of the year, with Barcelona soccer player Lionel Messi coming in a far second with only 75,000 votes.
"Turkey's pro-Islamic leader has built his (Secular, democratic, Western-friendly) nation into a regional superpower," was written on the cover of the Magazine's November issue, "But can his example save the Arab Spring?"
However, not all is rosy for the hard-line leader: A parallel online poll rendered him the least fitting figure for the coveted title. More than 180,000 people responded by pressing 'no' when asked if the Turkish leader should be named person of the year.
Most liked and most hated. Erdogan on cover of Time Magazine
The magazine said the ambivalent results showed that the polls rendered Erdogan victorious twice, each time on the other side of the spectrum.
Meanwhile, Erdogan continued his controversial rhetoric against Israel.
The Turkish prime minister on Monday implicitly lashed out at the Jewish State in a recorded speech broadcasted during a convention in Doha, Qatar.
"When the Mavi Marmara sailed in order to bring humanitarian aid to a poor, starving population, it was attacked in international water in an act of state terrorism," he said.
"Peace will not appear in the Middle East as long as state terrorism continues; as long as peace efforts are thwarted, and as long as bombs keep dropping on innocent children and people who are trapped in an open field, like prisoners in a penitentiary," he said, without mentioning Israel's name.
Referring to the deteriorating situation in Syria,
Erdogan, who is recovering from surgery, said: "Middle East dictators murdering their own people will not bring stability and calm."