Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition coalition and the presidential candidate, has accused Russia of meddling in Turkey’s upcoming election and vowed to restore the country’s relations with the West if he wins.
Kilicdaroglu said that Russia was trying to influence the outcome of the vote by spreading propaganda and misinformation through social media and state-controlled media outlets. He also said that Russia was supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in power for 20 years and is facing a tough challenge from Kilicdaroglu.
Kilicdaroglu said that if elected, his government would comply with the West’s sanctions on Russia while maintaining Russia’s investments in Turkey. He also said that he would rejoin the US-led F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and push ahead on Washington’s planned $20 billion upgrade of Turkey’s F-16 fleet, all while re-engaging the European Union and furthering dialogue with Greece over the status of disputed islands in the Aegean.
Kilicdaroglu, a 74-year-old economist and the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), has been campaigning on a platform of change, hope and democracy. He has promised to end Erdogan’s “authoritarian rule” and revive Turkey’s economy, which has been hit by high inflation, unemployment and currency devaluation.
The election on Sunday is widely seen as the most significant test of Erdogan’s political career. Opinion polls have shown a tight race between Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan, with some suggesting a possible runoff. The election will also determine the composition of parliament, where Erdogan’s ruling party and its nationalist allies currently hold a majority.