Turkey Opposition Candidate Blasts Erdogan at Massive Rally

Pauline Gross
June 24, 2018

A worker slices meat as a reflection of a portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen in the window of a Turkish restaurant in Istanbul's Taksim Square on June 20, 2018. He listed the hospitals and transport infrastructure constructed under his 15 years at Turkey's helm as proof of his leadership, and slammed his opponents for lacking vision.

However, Erdogan's main rival, Muharrem Ince of the secularist Republican People's Party (CHP), promised to reverse Turkey's possible swing towards one-man rule under Erdogan.

The elections will also usher in a powerful new executive presidency long sought by Erdogan and backed by a small majority of Turks in a 2017 referendum.

Six candidates are running for president and eight parties have fielded candidates for 600 parliamentary seats. It's the first time they'll be voting for president and parliament at the same time - a change approved past year by a referendum that switched Turkey's governance system to an executive presidency. "With this system, we will achieve what others can not imagine", he told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in Istanbul's Esenyurt district, the first of five planned for Saturday.

Erdogan called the snap elections, bringing forward a vote that was expected to be held in November 2019. Critics say it will further erode democracy in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state and entrench one-man rule. The president, however, is facing a more robust and united opposition, which has vowed to return Turkey to a parliamentary democracy with strong checks and balances.

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Ince further stressed that he would lift Turkey's state of emergency which has been in place over the past two years. 80 million people will win!

That figure could not be independently verified, though images circulating on social media showed vast crowds of people assembled to hear Mr Ince speak.

Some OSCE observers held talks with opposition groups both in capital Ankara and Istanbul and advised them on how they could cast doubt over the outcome of the elections, such as questioning the results, according to security sources who requested anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

On the other side of the Bosphorus, the waterway bisecting Istanbul and separating Europe from Asia, Mr Erdogan dismissed fears of any ballot-rigging on Sunday, saying the polls would be fair and safe.

Other reports by GizPress

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