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Erdogan urges voters to 'explode ballot boxes' in Turkish polls

Turkish Prime Minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures he delivers a speech during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara on August 6, 2014
Turkish Prime Minister and presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures he delivers a speech during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara on August 6, 2014

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on voters to "explode the ballot boxes" with a mass show of support for his bid to become Turkey's new president in weekend polls.

Holding his penultimate mass rally in the Turkish capital Ankara ahead of Sunday's elections, Erdogan appeared supremely confident of garnering the majority needed for victory in the first round.

Erdogan called on loyalists to "explode ballot boxes on Sunday and deal a democratic slap" to his political opponents in the battle for the Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara.

"Ankara, will you vote for a strong Turkey? Ankara, will you vote for the man of people?" he asked with characteristic bravado. The crowds shouted "yes" in return.

"We will write the history of the new Turkey on August 10," he added.

A photo taken on July 10, 2014 shows Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the leading opposition candidate for Turkish presidential elections in August, speaking during a campaign event in Istanbul
A photo taken on July 10, 2014 shows Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the leading opposition candidate for Turkish presidential elections in August, speaking during a campaign event in Istanbul

Turkey's presidency has in recent years been a largely ceremonial job, but Erdogan indicated once again he planned to be a powerful president.

"God willing, all impediments between the Cankaya (presidential palace) and the people will be removed on August 10. The people will entirely remove the locks on the Cankaya on August 10," he said.

The latest survey by the private Konda research institute predicted Erdogan will win in the first round against the main opposition challenger Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas.

Erdogan would win 57 percent of the vote, Ihsanoglu 34 and the pro-Kurdish candidate Selahattin Demirtas nine percent, it forecast.

Erdogan will hold his final election rally in the central Anatolian city of Konya on Saturday.

With the clock ticking down to the official end of campaigning on Saturday evening, both Erdogan's rivals made a last ditch attempt to persuade voters to support their candidacy.

Ihsanoglu visited the town of Soma which in May was the scene of Turkey's worst ever mining disaster in which 301 miners were killed.

Erdogan, whose handling of the tragedy was widely criticised, has steered clear of Soma during the campaign.

Demirtas meanwhile held the biggest rally of his campaign on home ground in Turkey's biggest Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, with tens of thousands waving Kurdish flags turning out to hear him speak.