Final rallies held ahead of crucial Turkish elections

Erdogan expects Turkey’s development level to reach the levels of Russia, US

He was speaking at a rally in Istanbul on Saturday in the run-up to the early presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on Sunday.

For the first time, presidential and parliamentary votes take place on the same day.

Muharrem Ince, the candidate for the social-democratic and secularist People's Republican Party, leads a diverse opposition bloc that includes one-time Islamist allies of Mr Erdogan, and a nationalist splinter group. It's the first time they'll be voting for president and parliament at the same time - a change approved past year by a referendum that switched Turkey's governance system to an executive presidency.

Erdogan, 64, also promised to deliver more of the big infrastructure projects that have characterised his time in power and helped make him the most popular - if also the most divisive - leader of modern Turkish history.

Erdogan has served as president since 2014 - Turkey's first popularly elected president.

Erdogan blamed the coup on his former ally, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, and has waged a sweeping crackdown on the preacher's followers in Turkey.

There are six candidates for the presidency.

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Mr Erdogan is on the cusp of assuming a more powerful presidential role but may lose important political legitimacy in the process, and Turkey - a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation western military alliance with a major role in the Middle East - is about to enter an uncertain new era.

Mr Erdogan is hoping to win outright, but may be facing his greatest challenge in years. Mr Ince has performed well in the campaign, and could be a real threat in any run-off.

But in a situation labelled as blatant unfairness by activists, the HDP's presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas has campaigned from a prison cell after his November 2016 arrest on charges of links to outlawed Kurdish militants. If the HDP exceeds the 10 per cent threshold of votes needed to enter parliament, it will be harder for the AKP to get a majority.

If Mr Erdogan wins the presidency and his party keeps its majority, he will have successfully consolidated his political power.

This weekend's election in Turkey may be a lose-lose scenario for investors.

But if the presidency goes one way and the parliament another, it could signal a period of political instability for Turkey in the years ahead.

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