Trkiye friends with both US, Russia, says President Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Ankara has good relations with both the US and Russia. Trkiye is "friends with America and Russia and those who are spiteful towards us in the West,' Erdogan said during a live broadcast with several Turkish television channels on Friday, ahead of Sunday's presidential and parliamentary elections. Erdogan's remarks came a day after Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and joint candidate for the six-party opposition Nation Alliance, on Thursday accused Russia of being behind video content allegedly discrediting candidates for the presidency in the upcoming May 14 elections. "Dear Russian friends, you are behind the montages, conspiracies, deep fake content and tapes that were exposed in this country yesterday. "If you want our friendship to continue after May 15, get your hands off the Turkish state. We are still in favor of cooperation and friendship," Kilicdaroglu said on Twitter. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday rejected accusations, saying there can be no question of any interference of Russia in the Turkish elections, and that "those who spread such rumors are liars." Russia values ties with Trkiye because it takes "a very responsible, sovereign, and thoughtful position," Peskov added. "Those who aspire to the administration of Trkiye say, 'Let me make the West a friend. ... Whatever the Western sanctions are, I will also apply them on Russia.' You (Kilicdaroglu) can't be a statesman. Who do you think you are to impose sanctions on Russia?" Erdogan also said. Earlier on Friday, Erdogan blasted Kilicdaroglu over his remarks on Russia, as well. Kilicdaroglu "is attacking (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and Russia,' Erdogan told a youth event in Istanbul. Recalling a 2019 interview by US President Joe Biden who said the US could support opposition elements in Trkiye to change the tide of political developments, Erdogan said: 'But you (Kilicdaroglu) are helpless, loser." 'But when you attack Putin now, I'm sorry, I won't accept it,' he said. 'Because our relations with Russia are not behind our relations with the US at the moment,' he said, adding that Trkiye's foreign trade volume with Russia is more than the US'. 'We will do whatever is necessary for democracy' When asked about claims from several quarters that he would not leave the office if the opposition wins the election, Erdogan said that he would consider any result that comes out of the ballot box as 'legitimate.' 'Just as we came to power with the favor of our people, if our nation decides otherwise, we will do exactly whatever is necessary for democracy,' he said. He recalled that when the CHP won Istanbul and Ankara mayoral elections in 2019, the Justice and Development (AK) Party handed over the seats to successors. "The People's Alliance, which was established with the unity of parties that have adopted democracy, will accept every result from the ballot box as legitimate. We expect the same commitment from our counterparts," he added. In Trkiye, the presidential and parliamentary elections will take place on Sunday. On the presidential ballot, voters will choose between Erdogan, Kilicdaroglu, and Sinan Ogan of the ATA Alliance. Muharrem Ince, another presidential contender, withdrew from the race on Thursday. *Diyar Guldogan contributed to this story from Ankara.

Source: Anadolu Agency