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Turks heading to the polls in local elections seen as referendum on Erdogan

Turkey Elections-1.jpg

A Turkish woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Ankara Turkey, Sunday, March 30, 2014. More than 52 millions Turks vote in local elections Sunday as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fighting corruption allegations against his government. The local elections are seen as a referendum over his rule.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) (The Associated Press)

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a central role in Turkey's local elections even though his name won't be on the ballots.

Sunday's elections are widely seen as a referendum on Erdogan's tumultuous rule of more than a decade, and the prime minister has been campaigning as if his own career were on the line.

High profile races for mayor of Istanbul and Ankara with incumbents from Erdogan's Justice or Development Party, better known by its Turkish acronym AKP, will be watched closely for signs of whether his influence is waning.

The Turkish elections board says more than 50 million people are eligible to vote.