'We will win': Turkish President Erdogan holds show-of-force rally in Istanbul

·1-min read
'We will win': Turkish President Erdogan holds show-of-force rally in Istanbul

"Istanbul!" President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shouted to the sea of supporters he gathered for a show-of-force rally ahead of next Sunday's election - the toughest of his two-decade rule.

"If you say okay, we will win for sure!"

The masses were packed shoulder-to-shoulder across the tarmac of Istanbul's old Ataturk airport: a tidal wave of Turkish flags and banners with the 69-year-old president's face.

Erdogan was the mayor of this city before leading his Islamic-rooted party to power and ending half a century of secular rule in the mostly Muslim but officially secular state.

The loss of Istanbul to the opposition in 2019 mayoral elections cracked Erdogan's aura of invincibility and sounded the first warning bell for the approaching vote.

The latest polls suggest that Erdogan and opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu are locked in a dead heat and probably heading to a runoff on May 28.

>> Read more: Kemal Kilicdaroglu: The soft-spoken reformer threatening Erdogan’s grip on power

But surveys in Turkey are an inexact science and both are trying to show their supporters that they can win outright next weekend by picking up more than 50 percent of the vote.

"We were in bad shape before but today we have everything: freedom and comfort," she said.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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