Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Turkey’s largest theme park, just before launching anti-opposition rhetoric in the run-up to municipal elections, aptly framed by a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Together with T-Rex, visitors were attracted by a Diplodocus at AnkaPark, or Wonderland Eurasia, located in the capital of the country, Ankara, for which a tough battle is expected in the March 31 election as opposition candidate Mansur Yavaş is ahead of polls.
After the Turkish president praised the 1,217 attractions included in the park, he then attacked Yavas verbally, accusing him of forgery and tax evasion.
Turkey’s ruling party is locked in a tight and acrimonious battle with the secular opposition candidate to be the next mayor of Ankara in March 31 local elections, while voters in the capital remain anxious and reluctant to talk politics for fear of repercussions.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which dominates state and private media, has painted its opponents as supporters of terrorism and launched a string of legal cases against individual candidates. Opposition parties have meanwhile formed a loose alliance in order to dent the prestige of the AKP, which has been in power since 2002.
“Ankara is the heart of the Turkish state. Ankara is very important to trust in the hands of those involved in dark machinations, “Erdogan said, referring to charges of prosecutors against Yavas for inappropriate conduct at the time he worked as a lawyer.
In an interview given on Monday, the head of the Turkish state warned that if Mansur Yavaş prevails in Ankara, he will not be immune from possible prosecution, while Ankara’s citizens “will, unfortunately, have to pay a hefty price.”