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Turkish voters say: 'We want safety'

Turkish voters had mixed feelings ahead of Sunday's polls. But most Turks are simply hoping the results will provide stability for the country, Seda Serdar reports from Ankara.

One day before Sunday's elections, the streets of the Turkish capital, Ankara, were quite empty. There were a few campaign ads on the streets, and it looked as if the whole city was away on vacation.

Abbas Yildirim, who runs a little grocery store, believes this was due to the extended holidays introduced by the government. In his opinion, there is a general lack of excitement about the elections.

Türkei Ankara Parlamentswahl Abbas Yildirim

Abbas Yildirim observes a sense of general uncertainty

"There is no excitement. We just had another election recently. There are so many problems to be overcome, but our expectations were not met. There is an uncertainty," he says.

Curious anticipation

Songul Duzgun, on the other hand, is excited about this Sunday, an excitement generated by curiosity. "Of course there is excitement. Who's going to win? What's going to happen after the elections? How will circumstances change? People come and make so many promises. How many of them will they be able to keep? Will there be more taxes?" she asks.

Türkei Ankara Parlamentswahl Songul Duzgun

Songul Duzgun is curious as to who will win

Duzgun is mainly concerned about her daily life. She works at a pastry shop on the busy 7th Street, a popular shopping street in the Bahceli neighborhood. It is a lively thoroughfare, especially on weekends, often with loud music blasting out from the cars stuck in traffic jams.

But on Saturday, it was quiet. Most people were either home, waiting for Sunday, or on vacation. After all, schools are closed on Monday as well, and a five-day break sounds pretty good.

Ballots over beaches

This is not the first time the government planned elections around vacation times, forcing people to choose between ballots and the beaches. However, many people are aware that this is a critical election, and are planning on being in their election districts on Sunday.

Guven Erkin Erkal from Istanbul, who is visiting Ankara for a few days, will be back home for the elections and is eager to vote. Erkal, a music producer for TV and radio and a writer, is convinced that the election results will make a coalition necessary, and says that leaders need to act this time round.

Türkei Ankara Parlamentswahl Guven Erkin Erkal

Guven Erkin Erkal worries that worse days may be ahead

"The people who are supposed to form a coalition already know in which areas they agree and disagree, so they have to find common ground. After this election there has to be a coalition," and adds "I don't even want to think about what might happen if they fail. Are we going to face worse days, are we going to continue frowning? We are exhausted from frowning and being sad."

Longing for peace of mind

Mustafa Altunalan, who has worked as a photographer for more than four decades in Ankara and is in close touch with political circles, is looking for security and peace of mind.

Türkei Ankara Parlamentswahl Mustafa Altunalan

Mustafa Altunalan wants peace and stability

A Fenerbahce fan, Altunalan says: "When I watch a game of Barcelona or Bayern Munich on TV, I look at the facial expression of the spectators. There is not a trace of worry. All they think about is the success of their team. But in my country, when people watch a football game, they are hoping for the success of their team, but at the same time they are thinking: Will they put a bomb here? Will there be an explosion somewhere? Will I still have my job tomorrow? Are we in for another crisis? I don't want to have these worries anymore."

Third election rumors

In the past weeks, rumors of a third election are making people lose faith in the ballot box.

Taxi driver Tugrul Turker is one of them. "There is no excitement about Sunday, because the elections are being repeated and the people feel insecurity. Everyone is worried that if a similar result comes out, a third election could be around the corner."

Turker hopes for a Turkey where bombs are not exploding, where people can speak their mind freely and where everyone can live in peace.

Türkei Ankara Parlamentswahl Tugrul Turker

Tugrul Turker longs for peace in Turkey

Repressive atmosphere

The fear of expressing oneself is very real. Even 24 year-old Onur, who works at a department store, only agrees to talk about her take on the elections if her last name is not given - a photo is out of the question.

"People are afraid to say what they think. I don't believe that there will be a coalition. The Justice and Development Party will somehow come to power, even if they don't get enough votes. We are expecting a third election. They will keep on doing whatever it takes until they come to power again," she says.

In contrast with this pessimistic view, many believe that Turkish leaders have no choice but to find a way of working together. People on the street are mostly worrying about safety and the stability of their country. The first weeks of November will show if the politicians can deliver and put Turkey back on track.

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