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All eyes on Turkey's 3 biggest cities as local elections approach

Turks suffering under 20% inflation and 13.5% unemployment may punish President Erdogan's coalition in March 31 elections in the nation's three largest cities.
The old city is pictured from Galata tower in Istanbul, Turkey, August 1, 2017. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC116E529E60

ANKARA, Turkey — The municipal elections are less than two weeks away, and observers are wondering what is going to happen in Turkey’s three biggest cities: Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invested enormous amounts of his time and energy in the campaign, making two or three speeches a day. He knows he is more popular than his Justice and Development Party (AKP). He also knows the economic conditions — 20% inflation, 13.5% unemployment and soaring prices of vegetables — have turned the March 31 elections into a referendum on his rule.

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