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Russia categorically rejects accusations of interference in Turkey's elections

Turkish flags flutter in front of posters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that read 'right time right man', ahead of the May 14 presidential and parliamentary elections, in Istanbul, Turkey May 12, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Russia has categorically rejected accusations leveled against it by the Turkish opposition candidate of meddling in Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's archrival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leveled the accusation on Friday, alleging that Russia has circulated "deep fake" online content ahead of the vote. Kilicdaroglu also alleged that he has concrete evidence of the Russian intervention. 

"We categorically do not accept the accusations of interference in the Turkish elections. This is out of the question," Russian news agencies cited the Kremlin's spokesman, Dimitry Peskov, as saying on Saturday. 

"We are extremely disappointed with this statement of the opposition in Turkey," Peskov said, adding that Kilicdaroglu would not be able to provide proof of the supposed interference "because it does not actually exist."

The vote is slated to go ahead on Sunday with Erdogan facing a united opposition in the contest that is projected to be a tight race between the two sides.

Experts consider it unlikely for the vote to be definitive, with many expecting that the polls will head into a run-off on May 28.

Earlier this week, Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu lashed out at the United States for leading a Western media campaign aimed at manipulating the polls.

"The plan by the US intensifies actively," Soylu stated during a press briefing on Wednesday, arguing that "the reason for Western media’s interference is [to pave the way for] the realization of America's plan [in Turkey]."

Some American and European news outlets have been trying to depict Erdogan in a bad light ahead of the vote by billing him as a "dictator and tyrant," resembling similar efforts used during elections in other countries where Washington has a favorite candidate of its own.

"The West [has] started to push its vision [on Turkey]. 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," Soylu said.

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