The Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections set for this Sunday take place under severe restrictions on other political forces except for those of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
But even this may not be enough to secure the result he wants. Erdogan would be forced into a run-off if he secures less than 50 percent of the first round votes.
Whoever wins will inherit increased presidential powers that were approved in a referendum last year.
These include the power to issue decrees with the force of law, appoint the cabinet and vice-presidents as well as senior judges.
The main opposition to Erdogan is a coalition led by the right wing social democrats of the CHP.
The leftist and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) is hoping to reach the 10 percent threshold to win MPs. At least five HDP supporters were killed and nine injured in attacks by thugs armed with heavy weapons campaigning for Erdogan on Sunday in the town of Suruc.
The HDP’s candidate for president, Selahattin Demirtas, is campaigning from prison where he awaits trial on trumped-up terrorism charges.
A legacy of US occupation
Almost 60 percent backed abortion rights