ISTANBUL/ANKARA - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan turns to the ballot box that has favored him over a decade on Sunday in his battle to ward off graft allegations and stem a stream of damaging security leaks he blames on "traitors" embedded in the Turkish state.

The municipal elections have become a crisis referendum on the rule of Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party and he has been crisscrossing the nation of 77 million during weeks of hectic campaigning to rally his conservative core voters.

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"They are all traitors," Erdogan said of his opponents at a rally in Istanbul, Turkey's commercial capital, on Saturday. "Let them do what they want. Go to the ballot box tomorrow and teach all of them a lesson ... Let's give them an Ottoman slap."