President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed a massive crowd of about 1.5 million people at the Yenikapı grounds in Istanbul just a week before the June 24 elections declaring, "We will teach a lesson to the West."
He said that Western countries expect him to be defeated in the polls but the Turkish people will show that is not the case.
The fact that Erdoğan managed to attract such a huge crowd at a rally in Istanbul despite all the adverse political propaganda against him and heavy rainfall shows the ordinary people of Turkey still stand by the head of state and expect him to lead the country for another five years.
Now we are at the final stretch of a political marathon where party leaders are roaming around the country addressing crowds and trying to befriend the masses. They are addressing numerous talk shows on TV.
All four presidential candidates have ganged up to pile criticism against Erdoğan, yet the president, who has run the country for 16 years winning successive elections as prime minister and the head of state, remains the favorite to win the presidential elections on Sunday. The polls show his popular support at about 48 to 52 percent. His closest rival left-wing candidate Muharrem İnce is a distant second at the polls with a support of 25 to 28 percent.
İnce and his supporters hope the presidential elections will not be over in the first round of balloting and that a second ballot on July 4 will be needed where the top two will race in final balloting. Yet observers say if the presidential polls are not resolved this Sunday, Erdoğan will win the second balloting with even a higher margin as the right wing voters who did not back him in the first round will definitely opt for him in the July polls.
So why is Erdoğan talking about teaching a lesson to the West?
It is clear that some European countries and some power centers in Washington do not want Erdoğan to win and have been doing their utmost best to see that he is not re-elected. There is clear frustration among some Western diplomats who are resigned to the fact that an Erdoğan win is inevitable, so much so that the ambassador of a tiny European Union country was heard criticizing people at a restaurant in Ankara, "You complain about him (Erdoğan) yet you will vote for him again." The ambassador was reportedly drunk.
The masses remain behind Erdoğan because he is the only leader who the people believe can "deliver." Until now Erdoğan has made promises at elections and has delivered most of them. He is tested and people know what to expect. The masses also like him because he puts up an independent stance on international issues and does not bow to Western pressures.
Erdoğan is being accused by the West of being a strongman yet throughout the elections campaign he has fought back against all kinds of criticism and even slander only through democratic means. The opposition has freely accused him of wrongdoings on TV and at rally squares so much so that they even believe they have a chance to topple him at the polls.
The only flaw with the opposition is they make financial promises yet they do not come up with viable projects that will usher Turkey among the world's top 10 economies in the years to come. They are not prepared for the "day after" if they win the June 24 elections and they show this very clearly.
The West has been a bad coach to the opposition.
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