Turkish opposition leader accuses Russia of spreading conspiracies, deep fakes ahead of election – POLITICO


Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the Turkish opposition leader hoping to replace Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as president, accused Russia of spreading conspiracies and deep fakes ahead of this weekend’s election.

“Dear Russian friends,” Kılıçdaroğlu wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

“You are behind the montages, conspiracies, deep fakes and tapes that were exposed in this country yesterday,” he said, without providing further details. “If you want our friendship after May 15, get your hands off the Turkish state. We are still in favor of cooperation and friendship.”

The comments came hours after another opposition candidate, Muharrem İnce, announced he was pulling out of the presidential race.

“I’m withdrawing from the race. I am doing this for my homeland,” İnce said at a press conference, according to Bloomberg. Earlier Thursday, the Ankara public prosecutor’s office said it opened an investigation after a sex tape allegedly showing İnce surfaced on social media.

Kılıçdaroğlu is polling ahead of Erdoğan, who is facing the toughest reelection battle of his 20-year rule.

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