(Photo Credit: AP)
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused the US of using the western media to manipulate the outcome of the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkiye.
“The plan by the US intensifies actively. The reason of [the] Western media’s interference is the realization of the US’s plan,” Soylu told reporters.
In the months leading up to the14 May elections, several US and European media outlets published stories describing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “dictator and tyrant.”
On 3 May, Interior Minister Soylu said that the US would attempt a presidential coup during the upcoming election while blaming the US for a failed coup attempt in 2016.
In July 2016, a faction of the Turkish military allegedly attempted to overthrow Erdogan. The Turkish government blamed the unsuccessful coup attempt on Gülenists, adherents of an Islamist movement that had helped elect Erdogan and his AK Party to bring a “soft” version of Islam into the secular Turkish government.
According to Deutsche Welle, Turkiye arrested nearly 40,000 people and dismissed some 110,000 public servants alleged to be Gülenists following the failed coup.
Interior Minister Soylu also accused the US of being behind the military coups in Turkiye in 1960 and 1971.
Soylu claimed, “Tayyip Erdogan has eliminated all these Western intrusions. Now, the West started to push its vision [on Turkiye]. With our victory in the 2023 election, a hundred-year stability will begin. They see it. There is no election a US ambassador would not like to control… They say Turkiye’s geopolitical priorities do not meet [Western] interests… Turkiye did not accept the US’s mandate. They have been trying to take revenge for it for 104 years. Everyone is aware of it.”
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, a Turkish economist and leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was put forward as a presidential candidate by a six-party opposition alliance and is considered Erdogan’s primary opponent.
Pre-election polls have not shown a clear favorite. If no candidate gains 50 percent of the votes, a second voting round will occur on 28 May.
Kilicdaroglu has the support of the Kurdish-dominated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
The Turkish government claims the HDP has links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara has blacklisted as a terrorist organization. The PKK has fought a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state to achieve greater Kurdish autonomy and cultural and political rights.
In recent weeks, Turkish authorities have arrested hundreds of HDP members while also seeking to ban the party through the judiciary as the elections approach.
Turkish commentators have also accused the US of planning to carry out a “color revolution” in Turkiye during the elections resembling those successfully implemented by the US State Department in West Asia and the post-Soviet European and Central Asian states.
Writing in the Daily Sabah, journalist Hakkı Ocal claimed that the Biden administration had organized the coalition of political parties challenging Erdogan and the AKP in the upcoming elections and denied claims by US President Joe Biden that “Erdogan expelled the Kurds in Turkey from the political process.”
Ocal also claimed that Biden’s “comrades in the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Council on Foreign Relations may continue to do what they do, hoping that the PKK terrorist organization will prevail and create an independent Kurdistan in Syria with the help of US Central Command.”