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As well as what his critics argue has been his goal all along : building a new, religious Turkey from the ashes of its secular past.

(This sentence is from this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tM3Y5WeZysw at 0:52)

I can't figure out how "as well as" used in this sentence. I thought there should be a following or preceding sentence, since "as well as" acts as a conjunction, but it seems like "as well as" acts as an adverb or something. Could somebody explain this sentence?

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The problem is that you didn't include enough context. To understand what as well as is doing, you need to look at the previous sentence:

But in recent years, Erdogan has aggressively, and at times violently, doubled down on aggregating as much power as he can. As well as what his critics argue has been his goal all along: building a new religious Turkey from the ashes of its secular past.

Here is a much shorter version, using only the key components from both sentences:

Erdogan has doubled down on aggregating power as well as building a new religious Turkey.

Although the second sentence starts with as well as, it's actually functioning as a conjunction with the previous sentence.

Note that this speech is only represented by two sentences because that's how it makes sense to translate the spoken rhythm and cadence into words. Also, speech is seldom actually grammatical.

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In this context, it sounds to me that "as well as" means "in addition to" or "also".

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