Turkey has prospered under the controversial prime minister. But his modernization agenda has also fueled opposition to his rule and exposed his autocratic style.
The economy remains a more distant concern for Turks, many of whom have turned their attention to other political questions. But one indication of brewing trouble is the weakening currency.
The US used to hold Turkey up as a role model for the Middle East. But today, as it floats the possibility of banning Facebook and YouTube, Turkey has lost its shine.
Turkish activists and the European Union are applying pressure on President Abdullah Gul to veto a recently-passed Internet censorship law. Turkey has long aspired to join the club of European democracies.
Turkey is increasingly concerned about the proliferation of Al Qaeda-linked fighters along its border with Syria. This week its military fired on jihadist targets in Syria.
Turkey was an early supporter of Syria's rebellion, keeping its border open for refugees and aid, but has became wary of jihadi groups operating on its turf.
Turkey is openly opposed to the Assad regime and has supported rebel groups, allowing weapons to cross the Turkish border to Assad's chagrin.