With the polls against him and the real possibility of losing power after 20 years, the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoganraised the tone today by comparing this Sunday’s elections with the coup attempt suffered in 2016, while the opposition calls for calm and avoid provocations.
“If necessary, as on the night of July 15 (2016, the date of the coup), we will defend our independence and our future, even with our lives,” said the head of state on the social network Twitter, emphasizing the campaign message that, if the opposition wins, Türkiye will plunge into chaos.
Erdogan assured that “he will not give up serving his country” and that he will not stop making the country grow through investments.
Fahrettin Altun, the head of communication for the Presidency, influenced this idea, assuring that the country faces, this Sunday, the choice between independence or dependence, in an allusion to another campaign message: that the opposition will hand over Turkey to political imperialism and Western economy.
“We’ll call it stability or we’ll call it chaos“, summarized.
Different analysts, and the opposition, have warned of the possibility that, faced with an electoral defeat, Erdogan may resist recognizing the result, as his party, the AKP, did when he lost the Mayor of Istanbul in 2019.
Back then, he contested the result and he forced an electoral repetition that he lost with much more margin.
A “political coup”
The Minister of the Interior, Suleyman Soylualready compared the parliamentary and presidential elections this Sunday with the 2016 coup attempt at the end of April.
“July 15 was a factual coup attempt. May 14 is an attempted political coup,” the minister said then, referring to the date of the elections.
Polls predict that Erdogan will lose the presidential election to the candidate of a six-party opposition alliance, the Social Democrat Kemal Kiliçdaroglu.
The opposition candidate, for his part, chose today to maintain the optimistic message that has marked his campaign.
“We will live together, in peace, as brothers and sisters, and openmaking us We will end the fight. This is my duty, this is my promise to you,” he told a rally in the Black Sea coast city of Samsun.
Kiliçdaroglu asked his followers to go to vote without worrying and assured that measures have been taken to defend the fairness of the elections.
The opposition candidate, who is already convinced of his victory in the first round of the presidential elections this Sunday, has insisted to his followers that they be restrained in celebrating the victory in the streets, at the risk of violent pro-Erdogan groups causing riots.
Beyond a possible violent response, different analysts do believe that if he loses by a narrow margin, the polls give Kiliçdaroglu an advantage of 3 to 10 points, Erdogan could challenge the elections.
With everything, and despite the political tension, in the streets of istanbul the electoral atmosphere is festive.
In front of the Spice Bazaar, two groups of people dance, barely 20 meters apart, waving Turkish flags. Some are supporters of Erdogan’s AKP. The others from the Kiliçdaroglu CHP.
The same happens in Kadiköy, where the polling stations of the opposing parties are barely separated by a few meters, without creating problems or disputes, in an example of democratic maturity.
The same tranquility breathes the tourists who walk through the city.
Pedro, a Spanish visitor, affirms that he has not even considered shortening his vacation for fear of incidents after the elections on Sunday.
“The earthquake (which Turkey suffered last February) did not throw us back, so neither will an election,” he says, indicating that he does not have any sense of uneasiness.
(With EFE information)
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