In this acclaimed new documentary, Emmy and BAFTA award-winning director, Gilles Cayatte, and expert on Turkish affairs Guillaume Perrier, profiles President Erdogan. Featuring an exclusive new interview with Fethullah Gulen, the man accused of instigating the coup, as well as insights from Erdogan’s supporters and opponents, it portrays a leader whose sense of identity seems rooted in his power.

A profile of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey. Faced with the Syrian crisis, he is now one of the key players in the Middle East. Is this why Europe is now turning a blind eye to the authoritarian drive he is imposing on his country?

At a time when war and tragedies are inflaming the Middle East, the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an islamist, has become one of the world’s most active and controversial leaders.

When he came to power in 2003 as a prime minister, he appeared to be a moderate Muslim, a democrat who was moving his country towards Europe, in one word, a new kind of ruler. He was seen as both as a modernist and as a charismatic politician: when in power, he managed to improve the economy, to lessen the influence of the Army on society, to negotiate a peaceful settlement with the Kurdish minority, granting it some kind of a cultural autonomy.

He also reactivated the legacy of the Ottoman empire, through his relations with the whole Middle Eastern region. All these achievements enhanced his popularity. They also gave him more power and influence. And the more power he gained, the more he proved to be driven by a desire to increase his hold on society. Will he manage to marginalize his opposition totally and be the sole potentate of Turkey? As of November 2016, he has a full majority in Parliament and after the failure of the military coup of last July 15th, he can enjoy total control of his country. Is this the making of a new sultan?

The film is based on a selection of unique archives and the testimonies of people in Turkey, Germany and the USA who have known Recep Tayyip Erdogan for years: friends, former friends, new foes. Among them Erdogan’s former ally who has now become public enemy number one in Turkey : Fethullah Gülen. They all tell through their own eyes what might well be the making of a new despot.

Gilles Cayatte

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine in 1962, Gilles Cayatte was first and foremost a film-lover, but soon caught up with reality. He practiced all the television professions, in order or disorder, chief editor (long), cameraman (a little), journalist (very little), producer, and finally director. His work is eclectic, as are his tastes. He passes from aeronautics to sport, from sociology to politics to the denunciation of injustices, wars and repressions. Most of his films have been hailed by the press, and many awards have marked his career. After making about fifty documentaries around the world, he is also interested in fiction today. He is elected to the board of directors of the Scam (French Author guild).

(2016) ERDOGAN the making of a sultan, (2015) Armenian spring – LAGARDERE, Mortelle épopée (2014) Immigration & délinquance / La fabrique du préjugé (2012) Life and death of Robert Boulin (2011) Iran, the bomb at all cost (2008) The 9 lives of Norodom Sihanouk (2007) COLUMBIA Tragedy (Emmy Award) (2006) GOOGLE, The thinking machine (2003) Baghdad is burning.

Guillaume Perrier 

40 years old, journalist-reporter and author, specialist in the Middle East. Correspondent in Istanbul for the French press (Le Monde, Le Point, etc) for 10 years (2004-2014). Has collaborated in many titles (XXI, GEO, Paris Match, Nouvel Obs, Society, etc.) and has covered many events in the region during the decade: Lebanon, Greece, Iraq, Syria, Georgia, etc. Author of an investigation into the memory of the Armenian Genocide: Turkey and the Armenian Phantom, Actes Sud 2013, Prix Document Express, that was adapted in a documentary Le printemps des Armeniens directed by Gilles Cayatte, and a comic book the Armenian Ghost, Futuropolis, 2015.


  • November 16th, 2016 on RTBF (Belgium – French)
  • November 20th 2016 on RTS (Switzerland – French)
  • November 22nd, 2016 on ARTE (57’55”)
  • November 27th 2016 on DR (Denmark)
  • January 25th 2017 on NRK (Norway)
  • March 13th 2017 on LCP (France)
  • March 22nd 2017 on SRF (Switzerland – German)
  • and on Ynet 8 (Israël), VRT (Belgium), LTV (Latvia), LRT (Lituania) and TV3 Catalunia.

International Sales

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Coproduction / presales

LCP-Assemblée nationale

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