Turkey’s all-powerful President Erdogan is in the fight of his life against an opposition that has united against him for Sunday’s elections.
His main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, appeared before a throng of supporters on Friday, flanked by allies from across the political spectrum who have come together as never before.
As the rain beat down in Ankara, he vowed to restore “peace and democracy”.
The man he wants voters to oust after 20 years – Recep Tayyip Erdogan – said he had kept Turkey standing tall despite many challenges, including the economy with its rampant inflation and February’s catastrophic double earthquakes.
Both issues have dominated this febrile campaign for both the presidency and parliament.
At 74, the opposition leader is often described as soft-spoken, but he gave a powerful speech to an audience that believes this is their best hope so far of reclaiming power from a president who has dramatically increased his own at the expense of parliament.
Mr Kilicdaroglu is slightly ahead in the opinion polls and his supporters have dared to dream he might win outright on Sunday, with more than 50% of the vote, rather than face a run-off two weeks later.
Asked on TV what he might do if he lost, President Erdogan said the question was absurd, but that his government had come to power democratically: “If our nation changes its mind, we will do exactly what democracy requires.” [Continue reading…]