Top Erdogan Official Accuses US Of Meddling In Turkish Elections

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu (of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party/AKP) on Friday charged that the United States is meddling in the country's elections, set to take place Sunday. The national election is shaping up to be the biggest challenge to President Erdogan's grip on power in years.

"The United States is meddling in these elections... Everyone in this country already knows this, US President [Joe Biden] himself declares this. The attack on [presidential candidate of Turkiye and leader of the Memleket party] Muharrem Ince... it is clear where it came from, it is clear where it was coordinated. This is America. In recent days, Biden has stepped up his people in Turkiye," Soylu said in an interview, as translated in regional media.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Getty Images

He further charged that Washington's efforts of trying to subjugate Ankara have failed. "Turkey has a clear position in its foreign policy. The US says 'Come and obey me.' We obey the Turkish interests," Soylu said.

"I am among the most exposed to attacks and insults, and a big part of them comes from foreign accounts," he explained, while also saying the government is taking extra precautions to defend against cyberattacks. 

Soylu's reference is to Muharrem Ince, whose pullout is being widely seen as a huge boost to Erdogan's main challenger, the CHP's Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The Associated Press reported Thursday:

The candidate who pulled out, Muharrem Ince, is the leader of the center-left Homeland Party. He was one of four contenders running in Sunday’s presidential election. Turkey holds a parliamentary election the same day.

Ince had faced criticism for potentially ciphering support from the six-party Nation Alliance, which has united behind the candidacy of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and thereby forcing the presidential contest into a second-round.

"I am withdrawing from the race," Ince told reporters in front of his party’s headquarters, following weeks of resisting calls to step down. "I am doing this for my country."

Ince's announcement came a mere three days before the May 14 election, and while his polling reportedly slid down to 2%. He didn't throw his support behind any other candidate, given he was popular among voters dissatisfied with either of the two main contenders. His dropping from the race hurts Erdogan, given Ince was seen as siphoning off crucial votes from Kilicdaroglu.


"While polling indicates that a majority of Ince’s voters are likely to flip to Kilicdaroglu, it’s unclear if there will be enough voters to give him an outright victory in the first round," regional analyst Hamish Kinnear told AP.

Meanwhile, it's not only the US being accused of election 'interference' - but naturally some are taking to opportunity to allege Russian meddling too. Kilicdaroglu is now seizing on Erdogan's close relations with Vladimir Putin, and is charging Russia with fabricating deep fake videos meant to harm his candidacy.

In tweets posted in Turkish and Russian, Kilicdaroglu wrote, "Dear Russian friends, you are behind the fabrications, conspiracies, deepfake content and tapes that were exposed in this country yesterday. If you want the continuation of our friendship after May 15, take your hands off the Turkish state. We are still in favor of cooperation and friendship."

The charge was also in relation to Ince's pullout, including the following bizarre episode

In a televised presser earlier Thursday, Ince announced he was withdrawing from the four-candidate presidential race following a fabricated sex tape that circulated on the web, allegedly implicating him. Ince said he has been the target of a character assassination plot through a series of smear campaigns, including the release of the sex video, which he said was fabricated from an "Israeli porn site."

A CHP party official separately told Turkish media, "We think that some covert moves are underway aimed at the campaign. We don't want these. We want our centuries-old relationship to continue like this."

While incumbent Erdogan is certainly favored to secure another term as president, if it the vote count comes close these growing allegations of 'foreign interference' will likely explode into the headlines. Erdogan and his AKP officials have in recent years charged that the US was behind the July 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt which briefly grabbed the world's attention.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from

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