With little mention by UK broadcasters and scarcely more in the press, remarkable scenes have been taking place in Turkey as crowds of hundreds of thousands gather to hear and cheer the Opposition leader they think could topple Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan:
Muharrem Ince, campaigning under a motto of peace and sharing, has taken his party’s polling from twenty percent to thirty percent in just a few weeks of a campaign that will have seen him visit 107 towns and cities in forty-five days by the time polling stations open on Sunday.
Ince told interviewer Christiane Amanpour that he felt he could win in spite of Erdogan’s ruthlessness because “I believe in the power of the street”:
Christiane Amanpour* @camanpour [ INTERVIEW ] with opposition #CHP Leader #Muharremİnce @vekilince #Başaracağız #TurkeyElections #Turkey #Türkiye #Turkish | CNNInternational'dan Christiane Amanpour, İnce ile röportaj yaptı @CNN @cnnbrk @cnni @BBCWorld @marklowen @herkesicinCHP pic.twitter.com/5KYbvMdhPz
— Nina Ryder (@GeziWoman__) June 22, 2018
Ince’s secularist and unashamedly populist campaign seems to be resonating with a population still suffering under Erdogan’s massive wave of arrests, allegedly to prevent a huge conspiracy but which has resulted in lifetime prison sentences even for young students.
The Erdogan regime’s fear may be reflected in the recent banning of election observers, prompting fears that the election will be fixed to protect the Establishment.
After enormous rallies in Izmir and Ankara in the last couple of days, Saturday will see the climax of the campaign with what is expected to be an even larger turn-out in Istanbul.
Could this be a landmark moment, not only for Turkey but for those suffering under oppressive and venal government in the UK and elsewhere?
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