Erdogan criticizes Kilicdaroglu over his claims that Russia interfered in Turkish elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Istanbul on Friday as part of his penultimate rallies before Sunday’s elections. In his first stopover, Erdogan addressed a crowd in the Sultangazi district on the European side before heading to Bahcelievler, reports citing Daily Sabah.

The president said some 50,000 people convened for the rally, boasting a high turnout that has been evident in his past rallies.

Erdogan stated that the opposition bloc led by his main rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu “acted with the motivation of greed and revenge,” after their past defeats.

“We cannot accept this ugliness,” he said, referring to what he called a smear campaign. Without naming names, Erdogan said it was the same power “that forced Meral Akshener back to the opposition bloc after she stepped down,” which “forced Muharrem Ince to withdraw from the candidacy three days before the election.”

Akshener, head of Good Party (IP), had earlier announced that she would leave the six-party alliance before suddenly changing her mind and endorsing Kilicdaroglu. Ince, who challenged Erdogan again in 2018, resigned from the election race, citing a smearing campaign by the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO) against him, “supported by the opposition.”

Erdogan accused Kilicdaroglu of being a “puppet of that power,” which saw him “cheering Qandil,” in reference to the hub of the PKK terrorist group in northern Iraq.

He also criticized Kilicdaroglu over his claims that Russia interfered in Turkish elections through deep fake content. “It is a shame. What can you say if I tell you that the United States, Britain and Germany manipulate the elections?” he said.

“They used the same method to take over a political party and used it again, against a name who challenged me in the last election, from their own party,” he said. Erdogan was referring to the resignation of late CHP Chair Deniz Baykal, who stepped down after a sex tape scandal blamed on FETO. Kilicdaroglu succeeded Baykal as CHP's leader.

Erdogan also heaped criticism on “the West.” “We are competing against those trying to disrupt the 'Century of Türkiye,'” he said, referring to his ambitious vision of a series of megaprojects and reforms in the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye. “Magazines have covers reading ‘Erdogan must go.’ It is none of your business. The West cannot decide it. It is up to my nation,” he added.

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