1683932677 Why is the opposition in Turkey accusing Russia of interfering

Why is the opposition in Turkey accusing Russia of interfering in the presidential elections? The

YASIN AKGUL / AFP Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader and presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaks on stage during a rally in Kocaeli April 28, 2023. A sea of ​​umbrellas and hoods at his feet, Kemal Kilicdaroglu the Turk Opposition candidate who will challenge Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May 14 elections smilingly promises “the return of spring”. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)


Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s main opponent, has accused Russia of electoral interference two days before Turkey’s presidential election.

Türkiye – A real fake war where all shots are allowed. Two days before Turkey’s presidential election, the opposition coalition led by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s main rival, suspects Russia of election interference. As the two favorites accuse each other of using unfair methods to discredit each other in the eyes of voters, the Kremlin, which is regularly accused of interference by Western powers, this Friday, May 12, denied any involvement.

“We firmly reject these statements,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. We declare it officially: There can be no talk of Russian interference in Turkey. “We have repeatedly said and insist that Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs or in the electoral processes of other states,” said Vladimir Putin’s representative.

Why is the opposition in Turkey accusing Russia of interfering

Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, President Erdogan’s main rival in Sunday’s presidential election in Turkey, on Thursday accused Russia of using “deepfakes” in the election campaign after another opposition candidate, Muharrem Ince, dropped out of the running. The latter said he was the victim of a smear campaign using fake pictures showing him having an extramarital affair or driving luxury cars.

troll armies

“Dear Russian friends, you are behind the fabrications, conspiracies, forgeries and records that were uncovered yesterday in this country (…). If you want our friendship after (the election), don’t touch the Turkish state,” Kemal Kiliçdaroglu stated.

The opposition candidate, who leads the polls in recent polls, has himself become the target of video montages. In a fake 15-second clip presented as authentic by President Erdogan, he specifically urged people to go to the polls on May 14, before being slammed by a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), one of himself classified as a terrorist organization, was imitated by Ankara and its western allies. Proof, according to the outgoing president, that his rival is advancing “hand in hand” with the armed group.

Why is the opposition in Turkey accusing Russia of interfering

“How can someone who holds the presidency allow something like that? “, the chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP, Social Democrat) was outraged on Tuesday.

But President Erdogan is by no means outdone, he also presents himself as a victim. A week ago, the Turkish head of state claimed on social media without being able to provide any evidence “that an army of trolls is working for Mr. Kemal”. “They use lies and misinformation. They think of methods that even the devil would not have thought of,” he began on television.

Disinformation: a weapon used to criminalize the opponent

In mid-October, parliament convinced President Erdogan and passed a law punishing the spread of “fake news” with imprisonment. Kemal Kiliçdaroglu was the first to be prosecuted under the new text after accusing the Islamic conservative government of being responsible for a “methamphetamine epidemic” in the country.

Why is the opposition in Turkey accusing Russia of interfering

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, expressed concern at the time that “the penal provisions criminalize the dissemination of false or misleading information.”[ient] is used more and more frequently in Turkey. In this campaign, “everyone is trying to define what disinformation is. It becomes a weapon to criminalize the opposing candidate or party. This is something new,” Suncem Koçer, a disinformation specialist at Koç University in Istanbul, told AFP.

It remains to be seen what real impact these disinformation campaigns may have when, for the first time in twenty years, the statue of Recep Tayyip Erdogan seriously falters in the face of opposition. The answer on Sunday, May 14th.

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