Ten days out from the world's most important election in 2023, the contest between Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main opposition candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is tight. The polls suggest that all outcomes are possible: Erdogan could extend his rule into a third decade or lose the presidency, his People's Alliance could retain or lose its parliamentary majority.
But tellingly, an air of desperation has crept into the campaign speeches of the president and senior figures of his AK Party. To distract voters from their disastrous mismanagement of the economy, they are trotting out tired tropes to connect with voters. Erdogan himself, back to the hustings after a three-day break because of a stomach bug, is railing against the LGBT community and claiming the opposition is backed by terrorists.