Turkey is in the midst of an election campaign. The incumbent, Tayyip Erdogan, has held the Turkish Presidency for 20 years; he faces a challenge from Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The race will be decided by a run-off vote tomorrow.
I don’t know who will win, but I do know this: the two candidates aren’t shy about posting their faces and their campaign slogans anywhere and everywhere. Erdogan’s campaign put up a colossal bedsheet poster above one of the streets near the Grand Bazaar that billowed in the breeze like a living thing, whereas both candidates took advantage of the heavy foot traffic near the Galata Tower to get some free publicity for their campaigns. Not being able to read Turkish, I’m not sure what the campaign themes are, but I’m guessing that the incumbent focuses on “experience” and the challenger promises “change.” (According to Google, “soz” in Turkish means “promise.”)
Of course, as tourists we have no insight into who might win. We didn’t bring up politics with anyone, but we did hear some grousing about inflation being an issue in Turkey. It also isn’t clear whether people feel strongly about the outcome. We did see a street brawl where one Turk knocked another Turk to the ground before they were separated and began shouting (apparent) insults at each other, but we didn’t know whether politics was the cause of the dispute or whether it was just your standard Turkish tussle in a male-dominated culture.