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Erdogan's Grip on Turkey Is Loosening Even in His Black Sea Home

  • Turkish president’s appeal is weakened by economic turmoil
  • Not everyone buys the propaganda: ‘We’re not children’
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The story of Erdogan’s grip on Turkey. Source: Bloomberg

With the most consequential election in Turkish history only days away, nowhere is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grip on the nation more complete than in the lands from which he hails. On the 20-kilometer (12-mile) drive from Rize to Erdogan’s hometown of Guneysu, perched in the green rolling hills overlooking Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, his presence dominates the landscape.

Along the highway that hugs the coast, Erdogan’s picture hangs off every other light post, and banners carrying prints of his face are fastened to balconies and rooftops scattered across the tree-lined landscape as far as the eye can see. An oversized portrait sits atop a pole erected along the town’s main road, as if to greet visitors making a pilgrimage to his place of birth.