A street vendor is backdropped by the iconic Galata Tower and party flags and banners for the upcoming elections, as he waits for customers, in Istanbul, May 26, 2015. (AP/Emrah Gurel)
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In what opponents see as part of a campaign to muzzle dissent, Erdogan has repeatedly berated news outlets including the New York Times and Turkish daily Hurriyet, while a prosecutor this month sought to shut two TV stations, seen as opposed to the government, on terrorism-related charges.Erdogan is constitutionally barred from party politics as head of state, but has been making podium speeches across Turkey ahead of the June 7 polls in the hope the ruling AK Party will win a big enough majority to hand him greater powers.Erdogan rejects the notion that Turkey, which languishes near the bottom of international press freedom tables, has anything but a free media, declaring in January that Turkish journalists were freer than any in Europe.Erdogan has also attacked the Hurriyet newspaper at recent rallies over a headline about the death sentence handed to former Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi, which noted that Morsi had been elected with 52 percent of the vote.
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