For the second day in a row, the main opposition candidate, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the main competitor of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish presidential elections, continues to accuse Russia of attempts to interfere in the electoral process scheduled for next Sunday.
Kılıçdaroğlu made his first statement in this regard, Thursday, hours after the withdrawal of Muharram Ince, one of the four contenders in the presidential elections.
“Dear Russian friends, you are behind the manipulation of the scenes, the conspiracy, the great forgery and the tapes that were shown in this country yesterday,” Kilicdaroglu wrote on Twitter.
“If you want our friendship after May 15, hands off the Turkish state. We still stand for cooperation and friendship,” he added.
On Friday, Kilicdaroglu repeated his accusations and said his party had material evidence that Russia was responsible for spreading “deep fake” content online.
When asked why he tweeted on Thursday stating that Russia was responsible, he told Reuters, “I wouldn’t have written the tweet if we didn’t have it (the physical evidence).” He added that the party did not communicate with the Russian embassy in Türkiye about the matter.
“We believe that it is unacceptable for another country to interfere in the Turkish electoral process in favor of a political party. I wanted the whole world to be aware of this, and that is why I spoke publicly through a tweet,” Kilicdaroglu said in an interview.
Kilicdaroglu’s comments came before a statement issued by the Kremlin denying Russia’s interference in the Turkish presidential elections, saying that “the allegations are false and fabricated by liars.”
Until now, no comments have been issued by Erdogan on these accusations, which observers believe are “close to reality” in light of the “distinguished” relationship between the Turkish president and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
Turkish opposition political analyst Barkat Kar says that it is clear that Russia sympathizes with Erdogan and hopes that he will win the elections and remain in power.
Kar adds to the “Al-Hurra” website that “Russia is benefiting from Erdogan’s survival and his pragmatic dealings with them, especially in the Ukrainian war file and his failure to implement many of NATO’s decisions against Russia.”
Among the reasons also, Kar points out that “Russia has achieved huge benefits during Erdogan’s era, economically and in the field of energy, tourism and border trade.”
Kar believes that Russia believes that it “will move more comfortably if Erdogan remains, compared to the opposition’s assumption of power.”
Not only that, as writer and political researcher Mustafa Ozjan asserts that “Moscow’s decision to postpone the collection of sums related to oil exports owed by Turkey until next year is considered an attempt to influence the election results in favor of Erdogan.”
Ozgan said in an interview with Al-Hurra that “Russia has good relations with Erdogan, and there are many understandings between the two parties, whether in the file of the war with Ukraine or the Syrian file.”-
Ozgan believes that “Putin’s influence on Erdogan is great and there is friendship between them, and therefore it is not excluded that Putin would prefer Erdogan to win the elections.”-
Türkiye’s elections.. Who is Kilicdaroglu, the “architect of alliances”?
Although he is not the only one facing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the May 14 elections, everyone in Turkey knows that he is his main, most prominent and “mortal” rival, and while the hopes of the opposition rest on him as he heads its largest party and the candidate of its coalition, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is on the verge of a future. New, he does not know whether “it will be bright or dark for him.”
Moscow and Ankara have close relations, as Russia is the largest supplier of energy to Turkey. Putin and Erdogan hold frequent talks on a range of issues, including energy and the war in Ukraine and Syria. Erdogan has often acted as a mediator, speaking to Moscow and Kiev.
During the heated election campaign, political figures, supporters of both Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, complained about online accusations, including the posting of videos and photos.
However, the director of the Istanbul Institute of Thought, Bekir Atajan, believes that Kilicdaroglu’s statements regarding Russian interference were not successful and will negatively affect him personally and may lead to his loss of the elections.
Atagan told Al-Hurra that “all countries are trying to interfere in Turkey’s internal affairs, not just Russia.”
And Atagan continues: “When he mentions Russia and does not mention other countries, this is illogical,” stressing that “his statement was incomplete and would harm him more than it harms Erdogan.”
Atajan states that “the matter applies to Erdogan as well. If he had stated and said that the West was interfering in the elections, this would harm him as well, because he did not speak explicitly about all the interference.”
Atagan points out that “the Turkish people are aware and know the truth of what is going on, and no country, no matter how powerful it may be, can influence the election results.”
Kar agrees with what Atagan says regarding downplaying the impact of external interference on the election results.
Kar says, “Russia is just trying, but this does not mean that it will succeed, because Erdogan’s chances of winning are difficult for several factors, including the high level of poverty, inflation, unemployment, and the decline in the file of freedoms and human rights.”
Erdogan faces opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu and Sinan Ogan in a pivotal election on Sunday that will test Erdogan’s 20 years in power.
If no candidate receives half of the votes in the first round, a run-off will be held on May 28 between the two candidates with the most votes.
Muharrem Ince, one of the presidential candidates for a small party, announced his withdrawal from the race on Thursday, citing a “moral assassination” using fakery on the Internet, but he did not provide further details.