Turkey’s bitter electoral struggle is approaching the decision day

He has doubled down on his attempts to label Kılıçdaroğlu as an ally of outlaw Kurdish militias and mocked the opposition’s attempts to talk tough on security issues.

“Until yesterday, they were lovers of terrorists,” Erdogan said about his rivals this week.

“You are the coward who cooperates with terrorists,” Kılıçdaroğlu replied on Twitter.

Some analysts consider the campaign to be Turkey’s dirtiest in recent memory.

“I have followed dozens of campaigns since 1979, and I have never seen both candidates lie so blatantly,” Jan Dunar, the exiled former editor of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, told AFP from Germany.

Disappearing reserves

“This is the first time we see a campaign full of such insults.

Most pre-election polls in Turkey underestimated Erdogan’s level of support in the first round.

They now show him leading by five points or more, which has sent panic into Turkey’s financial markets.

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Turks are dumping their liras and hoarding gold and dollars in anticipation of a fall in the currency after the election.

Official figures show Turkey’s central bank spent US$25 billion in one month trying to keep the lira afloat.

Turkey’s net foreign exchange reserves, an important measure of the country’s financial stability, fell into negative territory for the first time since 2002.

Capital Economics predicted that Erdogan would only relent and adopt more conventional economic policies “if Turkey faces a severe crisis and banking stress.”

“Our main takeaway is that Turkey is (just) managing to avoid such a crisis, but the risks appear to be skewed towards a worse outcome,” the London-based think tank said.


Kilicdaroglu’s decision to ally with a fringe far-right group this week almost cost him the support of the pro-Kurdish party, which accounts for a tenth of Turkey’s vote.

The Kurdish-backed HDP decided Thursday not to support a boycott of the election, saying it would only help prolong Erdogan’s “one-man rule.”

But HDP co-leader Pervin Buldan did not hide his disappointment with Kilicdaroglu’s new approach.

“It is wrong to score political points from immigrants or refugees,” said Buldan.

Both Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu are now focused on voter turnout.

“Our opponent is not Kilicdaroglu, but (voters’) complacency,” Erdogan said in a television interview on Thursday.

In the first round, participation reached a massive 87 percent.

But it was slightly lower in the Kurdish regions supporting Kılıçdaroğlu.

The data showed that the participation of 3.4 million Turks living abroad increased from 1.7 million to 1.9 million in the second round.

Many of these voters are descendants of Turks who moved to Western Europe from poorer provinces that traditionally support more conservative candidates.

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