Recep Tayyip Erdoan, who has been in charge of his country for twenty years, was not going to switch gears now.
The President, cheered vociferously on by thousands of supporters, marked the final day of the campaign by launching tirades against his critics and opponents, as well as the West.
Erdogan is aware that the election will be very close, as he faces a coalition opposition parties. His strategy is to get his supporters to turn out in large numbers.
He told them all that he had accomplished was in danger of being taken away. He warned that Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s victory would empower terrorists.
He accused the United States of orchestrating an ominous campaign to remove him.
What are you going do with this instruction from America? He mockingly asked Kemal Kilicdaroglu, his opponent.
What about the instructions you received from Biden?” Biden said to you: “We must bring down Erdogan.” I know it. All my people are aware of this. “Biden will also get a response from the voting tomorrow.”
As the president waved to them, his supporters clapped and cheered. They sang and chanted in excitement.
This election has been remarkably divisive and divided. Erdogan is a hot topic in Turkey after 20 years of increasing control.
He is loved by many, including thousands of people who have gathered at his rallies. The president is seen as a champion who stands up for his country’s traditions and values.
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Erdogan’s opponents also believe this, portraying him as a villainous presence that has undermined democracy in all its forms and alienated his country.
There is no more middle ground. The opposition parties of the country, who have ostensibly different political ideologies, have united under the banner of wanting Erdogan to leave office.
For his supporters, the answer to all of this is a second Erdogan victory.
We found ourselves in a shopping center located in an area of Istanbul that is aimed at middle-class women. The centre was full of stores for conservative women. The modest fashion industry is a big business.
In a cafe ,, many business owners gather to meet Oezlem Zingin, the prominent woman from the president’s AK Party. Zengin and I chat over tea mugs that are nearly as strong as her resolve.
She says, “I have been with my party for over 21 years. I can tell you we will win this election”.
Erdogan is misunderstood. The West doesn’t understand him at all. You can see the positive changes that he’s brought to the world – the women here and the way he helped them grow.
“But I believe that the West is predisposed to the President of Turkey and the country.” They don’t know how he wins because they don’t understand him.
She says that Turkey “is forging its path” and is “rethinking what we should be doing, where we are and how we position ourselves”.
She praises her country’s response to the conflict in Ukraine and says that Erdogan has been a bridge for Russia and Ukraine.
In the final hours before the voting begins, it is impossible to predict what will happen.
Both sides of this political divide are confident, not only in winning the elections but also in doing so during the first round.
They don’t, of course. Erdogan is the perfect candidate for continuity – an individual who has created his own political party and reshaped Turkey during his 20 years in power.
The opposition is a coalition which might succeed or fail, but exists to be a catalyst for change.
It’s an election but also a referendum about Erdogan. The world is watching, eager to find out what happens next. There is no way to predict the outcome, but we can say that it will be close.