The Kremlin “strongly” denied Friday its accusation of meddling in the Turkish elections, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s main rival in the May 14 elections accused Moscow of being behind manipulated scenes that negatively affected the campaign.
“We strongly reject these accusations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding, “We officially announce: There is no Russian interference” in Turkey, stressing that Moscow “highly values” its relations with Turkey, the “partner” country.
On Thursday, the Turkish opposition candidate for the presidential elections, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, accused Russia of being behind fabrications and recordings that led to the withdrawal of the leader of the “Balad” party, Muharram Ince, from the scheduled presidential race.
In a tweet in Turkish and Russian, the People’s Alliance candidate said: “My dear Russian friends, you are behind montages, snares, forgeries, fabrications, and recordings spread since yesterday in the country.”
He added, “If you want to continue our friendship on the morning of May 15 (the day after the elections), then remove your hand from the Turkish state, we are still on the side of cooperation and friendship with you.”
Earlier Thursday, Engeh announced his withdrawal from the presidential race under the weight of pressure on him, and that he did not find a country to defend him, rejecting the allegations published on social media against him.
In Turkey, there is talk of a scandalous recording related to Muharram Ince, and a paper was published showing a money transfer of five million Turkish liras in support of his campaign, and it was said that it was by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a bribe.
The incident of Ince’s withdrawal from the presidential race is reminiscent of the withdrawal of the former head of the Republican People’s Party, Deniz Baykal, who was overthrown by an immoral recording in 2010, and then accused Kilicdaroglu of standing behind him with the support of the service group.
For his part, Erdogan commented on the news of Ince’s withdrawal from the presidential race, saying: “What did one of the candidates do?
Erdogan accused Kilicdaroglu of being behind the leaking of the scandalous videos of Engeh. He said, “Bye bye Kamal. He came to the presidency of the party with a cassette recorder. Now he is removing one of the presidential election candidates from the race with a cassette recorder.”
During the previous period, Injh was accused of dividing the votes of the opposition, and many voices, media and celebrities demanded that he withdraw so that the elections would not go to a second stage, and that they be decided in favor of Kilicdaroglu from the first stage, and Injh was rejecting all these demands until he talked about a registration against him, so he announced that he would not bear these accusations.
Kilicdaroglu’s accusation against Russia comes after statements about the Turkish relationship with Russia to the American Wall Street Journal, in which he said that he would respond to Western sanctions imposed on Russia because of the war on Ukraine, if he wins the elections.
He added that, if he wins, Turkey will move closer to NATO and the West more, and “will revive the issue of joining Europe,” and that “Ankara will continue Turkish investments in Russia but will apply Western sanctions on Russia,” and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is aware that Turkey is a member of the Western agreement.” And NATO, and Turkey must comply with NATO’s decisions.”