Elections in Türkiye: the main opposition presidential candidate denounced Russian interference

Kemal Kilicdaroglu (REUTERS/Murad Sezer) (MURAD SEZER/)

Kemal Kilicdarogluthe main presidential candidate of the Turkish opposition, denounced this Thursday that a Russian interference in the development of the general elections to be held in Turkey on May 14 and in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks re-election.

“Dear Russian friends, you are behind the fabrications, conspiracies, Deep Fake content and tapes that were exposed in this country yesterday,” Kiliçdaroglu declared on his Twitter account. “If you want the continuation of our friendship after May 15, take your hands off the Turkish state. We continue to be in favor of cooperation and friendship, ”he warned.

The head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP, Social Democrat), who also leads an alliance that brings together six opposition parties, made this comment in reference to a video circulating on social networks that shows him giving a speech with members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant organization classified as a terrorist organization in the European Union and the United States). According to an investigation by the German chain D.W.that sequence was manipulated combining two different footage with completely different backgrounds and content.

President Recep Erdogan also broadcast this fake video on a giant screen during one of his campaign rallies and asked the crowd present: “Would my citizens vote for this?” Political analysts point out that the president would have resorted to this maneuver to capture votes from the conservative and nationalist segments.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu during a campaign event (Reuters)
Kemal Kilicdaroglu during a campaign event (Reuters) (ALP EREN KAYA/CHP/)

With three days to go before the decisive parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey, most polls continue to point to an opposition victory, albeit by a narrow margin, which would put an end to two decades in the power of Erdogan.

A total of 12 different polls published since April until now give opposition candidate Kemal Kiliçdaroglu an advantage over the Islamist leader. Of those 12 polls, 11 predict a victory for the candidate, although only five give him an absolute majority on May 14, which would prevent a second round of elections two weeks later.

Kiliçdaroglu has the explicit support of six parties, including his own, the social democrat CHP, and the nationalist IYI, as well as four minor formations, from liberals to Islamists, but he will also be able to count on the vote of the Kurdish left. His advantage range varies between a maximum of ten to a minimum of three points over Erdogan in the polls and, adding the forecasts of all the polls, he has an average lead of five points over Erdogan.

Erdogan and his party, the Islamist AKP, have won every election since 2002., although since 2018 his majority in Parliament depends on the support of an ultranationalist formation. The president won the presidential elections that year with 53 percent. Now, the most favorable surveys do not even give him 49 percent.

Tayyip Erdoğan (Reuters)
Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters) (PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE /)

With the economy – whose growth was one of his electoral arguments for years – in poor shape and many Turks suffering from the high cost of living, Erdogan has focused his campaign on selling an idea of ​​a modern Turkey, inaugurating its first nuclear power plant, and powerful, which develops its arms industry.

It also accuses the opposition bloc of being unfaithful (despite the presence of Islamist parties) or of agreeing with the PKK Kurdish terrorist guerrilla and wanting to fragment the country (although there are nationalist formations). With this speech he has achieved in certain sectors that economic problems are eclipsed by national sentiments.

The opposition is committed to highlighting the loss of standard of living suffered by a large part of the population, with inflation of more than 40% and the lira at historical lows against the dollar. Furthermore, Kiliçdaroglu promises that if he wins, he will restore the rights and freedoms that Erdogan claims have eroded during his 20 years of rising authoritarianism.

During the Erdogan governments, Turkey has lost places in various rankings that measure the democratic health of a country, such as the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index or Transparency International’s corruption index.

(With information from EFE)

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