Thursday, June 13, 2024

Erdogan’s rival accuses Russia of election ‘deep fake’

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main election rival of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, issued a warning to Russia, accusing Moscow of responsibility for the release of fake material on social media ahead of Sunday's ballot.

Kilicdaroglu, who has a slight lead over long-time leader Erdogan according to opinion polls, did not specify to which material he referred.

A third presidential candidate, Muharrem Ince, withdrew from the race on Thursday citing a faked “character assassination” carried out online. He gave few details.

Kilicdaroglu accused Turkey’s “Russian friends” of responsibility for “the release in this country yesterday of montages, plots, deep fake content…”

“If you want to continue our friendship after May 15, withdraw your hand from the Turkish state. We are still in favour of cooperation and friendship,” he said on Twitter on Thursday in both Turkish and Russian.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied rumors about Russia interfering in the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, calling anyone who spreads such information a liar.

“We strongly reject such statements, we officially declare that there is no interference. If someone provided such information to Mr. Kilicdaroglu, then they are liars, that’s all I can say,” Peskov told reporters on Friday.

In general, according to the spokesman, Russia “very, very much values bilateral relations with the Republic of Turkey.”

“Because it [Turkey] has so far taken a very responsible, sovereign and thoughtful position on a whole range of regional and global problems that we face,” the official added.

“And this position is very much to our liking,” he pointed out.

“As a country that values bilateral relations, it will especially make sure not do anything against its partner,” Peskov concluded.

“We have repeatedly said and continue to insist that we do not interfere in the domestic affairs and electoral processes of other countries,” he stressed.

According to Peskov, Kilicdaroglu “should recall what the Americans have done.”

“They spent tens of millions of dollars on investigations and then came to the conclusion that there was no interference,” the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.

Asked about the upcoming election in Turkey last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Moscow “never interferes in the domestic affairs” of other countries.

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