The key presidential and parliamentary elections are coming up in Turkey. The question that currently concerns not only the whole of Turkey, but also the West, Russia, and the Middle East, is whether the current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will remain in power or whether the opposition candidate Kemal Kulçdaroğlu will win the presidential elections, writes BTA correspondent Nora Çolakova .
It also raises the question of how the possible change of the president of Turkey could affect the country’s relations with Russia. Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, Turkey has not imposed sanctions on Russia and continues to maintain direct air links with it. With the mediation of Ankara, a deal was concluded to unblock grain exports from Ukrainian ports. Ankara helped Moscow and Kiev carry out a prisoner exchange. Erdogan has also repeatedly offered to organize talks between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky.
Currently, the presidents of Russia and Turkey continue to maintain close contacts. At the end of April, via video link, they participated in a ceremony on the occasion of the delivery of Russian nuclear fuel for the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, built in Turkey by Rosatom. “The present ceremony also shows that the leadership of the Republic of Turkey and the president personally pay great attention to the expansion of Russian-Turkish relations, and in all directions,” Putin said at the ceremony. The Russian leader said the construction of the nuclear power plant was “another convincing example” of how much Erdogan is doing “for his country, for the growth of its economy, for all Turkish citizens”. “I want to say directly: you know how to set ambitious goals and confidently go towards their implementation,” Putin said, without directly mentioning the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, the election program of the opposition National Alliance , which nominated the leader of the Kemalist People’s Republican Party (NRP), Kemal Kulçdaroğlu, as a presidential candidate, says that he is determined
to build equal relations with Russia, the US and the EU if he wins .Kulçdaroğlu had also indicated that if he won the election, he would prioritize ending the Ukrainian conflict. He had said that Turkey would continue to try to mediate the resolution of the problems between the two countries and called for an extension of the “grain deal”. Until recently, he claimed that healthy relations with Russia were in Turkey’s interest.
The battle for democracy in Turkey between the price of onions and prayer rugsThe theme of the restoration of democracy is leading in the campaign of opposition leader Kemal Kulçdaroğlu. Will it be enough for voters?
Literally two days before the elections in Turkey, however, Kulçdaroğlu radically changed his position towards Russia, accusing it of interfering in the Turkish elections. Dear Russian friends, you are behind the montages, the distribution of deep fakes and videos related to the elections. If you want us to continue our friendship with you after May 15, keep your hands off the Turkish state, Kulçdaroğlu announced on his Twitter account. He also said that if he is elected president, Turkey will impose sanctions on Russia.
Kulçdaroğlu pointed out that Russia was responsible for compromising documents and fake news videos distributed on social networks and online platforms against the Turkish opposition in the run-up to the parliamentary and presidential elections. Videos appeared on social networks showing Kulçdaroğlu’s contacts with a responsible functionary of the PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party) terrorist group. The NRP announced that the videos were a fake montage. After Kulacdaroglu’s accusations against Russia, sharp reactions to him followed from the representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
Is the Kremlin’s long arm interfering in the Turkish elections?Erdogan’s main opponent said he had concrete evidence of fake content from RussiaToday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu described the opposition’s claims that Russia interfered in the country’s presidential elections as false and unfair, adds Nadya Çolakova for BTA .
Turkey needs stability more than ever. Turkish elections have always been transparent. From the point of view of the country’s image, it is useful for elections to be held in a democratic and transparent manner. What opposition candidate Kemal Kulçdaroğlu said about Russia’s interference is unfair to that country. Allegations of any interference are false, Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN-Turk.Regarding Kulçdaroğlu’s claims, Çavuşoğlu said last night that evidence was needed, which he did not see from the opposition.”If you have this evidence, we will alert Russia. But if this evidence has come to you from outside, from another country, to shape your agenda, to create the impression of interference, you cannot do that. That’s not how it’s done politics,” the Turkish foreign minister said.Last night, he said the European Union, the US and NATO would not cover Turkey’s losses from Russian tourists being denied visits because of the opposition’s behavior and its promises to impose sanctions on Russia.
According to the Turkish Foreign Minister, Turkey is closely connected with Russia in all spheres. “Even despite the conflict in Ukraine and the use of our drones by the Ukrainian side, we still manage to maintain close relations with Moscow. This is diplomacy. And if we see any mistakes, we openly tell the parties about it,” Cavusoglu also said. He recalled that Turkey buys 45 percent of its natural gas from Russia. And if sanctions are imposed, “there is nowhere to find an alternative to these volumes”. Ten percent can be compensated, but not 45 percent, he added. Meanwhile, the Turkish Ministry of Tourism also expressed their fears of a decrease in the number of tourists from Russia in the event of a victory for the opposition.