If Moscow wants its friendship with Ankara to continue after the elections, it should "keep your hands off the state of the Turks," said the opposition candidate. Presidential hopeful Kemal Kiliçdaroglu has accused Russia of meddling in Turkey's elections.
In a tweet late yesterday, he said, "Dear Russian friends, you are the ones behind the fabrications, plots, deep fake content, and tapes that have been exposed in this country.
"If you want our friendship to continue after May 15, keep your hands off the state of the Turk. We still support collaboration and friendship."
He shared the tweet in both Turkish and Russian. Kiliçdaroglu's comments followed social media posts claiming that the ruling party coerced Muharrem Ince, the leader of the Homeland Party and a presidential candidate, into running to siphon votes from Kiliçdaroglu, allegedly by blackmailing him with sex tapes.
Ince, who ran for president in 2018 as the candidate of Kiliçdaroglu's Republican People's Party (CHP), announced his withdrawal from the race yesterday. Although his name will still appear on the ballot, he resigned after the candidate list was finalized.
On Sunday, Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections. While most polls indicate that Kiliçdaroglu holds a slight lead over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it's likely that a runoff will occur since neither candidate is projected to secure 50% plus one vote, which is required to win the presidency.
Source: English Bianet