In an exclusive interview ahead of the runoff of the presidential election next week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that despite increasing pressure on Ankara to assist in bolstering Western sanctions against Moscow, Turkey has a “special” and growing relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We are not where we would force sanctions on Russia like the West have done. We are not bound by the sanctions imposed by the West,” Erdogan told Becky Anderson of CNN. We are a powerful nation with a favorable relationship with Russia.
“Russia and Turkey need each other in all fields imaginable,” he added.
Erdogan is the evident leader in the Turkish official race which heads to an overflow vote on May 28. He and his chief opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, have veered on various international strategy issues, incorporating discretion with the West and Russia. Kilicdaroglu has pledged to restore strained relations with the West over the past few years.
Additionally, he has stated that rather than attempting to imitate Erdogan’s personality-driven relationship with Putin, he will instead adjust Ankara’s relationship with Moscow to be “state-driven.”
In any case, in the days paving the way to the main round of the official race on May 14, Kilicdaroglu honed his tone on the Kremlin, blaming it for interfering in Turkey’s political decision and taking steps to burst the connection between the two nations.
He stated on Twitter, “Dear Russian friends, you are behind the montages, conspiracies, deep fake content, and tapes that were exposed in this country yesterday.”
Kilicdaroglu stated, “If you want the continuation of our friendship after May 15, get your hands off the Turkish state.” On the other hand, Erdogan has multiplied down on his relationship with Putin – and he figures the West ought to stick to this same pattern. ” The West isn’t driving an exceptionally adjusted approach,” he told CNN. ” A balanced approach is needed when dealing with a country like Russia, which would have been much better.”
He has blamed his opponent for trying to “withdraw” Turkey from Russia.
The Turkish strongman has emerged as a key power broker since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. He has adopted a crucial balancing act between the two sides that is widely referred to as “pro-Ukrainian neutrality.” “This was conceivable as a result of our unique relationship with President Putin,” he told CNN, alluding to the grain bargain.
Russian-Turkish exchange comes to $62 billion yearly. Erdogan was thought to have a better chance of winning the election when Putin waived Turkish gas payments to Russia earlier this year.
In addition to hosting some liberated Ukrainian POWS in Turkey and providing arms to Kiev, Erdogan also assisted in securing a prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine. However, his close ties to Putin have frightened his Western allies.
In his meeting with CNN, Erdogan handled one more key flashpoint in Turkish strains with the West: The accession of Sweden to NATO. Turkey, NATO’s second-largest army, has prevented Stockholm from joining the alliance on the grounds that it is a haven for terrorists affiliated with the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“However long Sweden keeps on permitting the branch-offs of fear bunches in Turkey to meander aimlessly in Sweden, in the roads of Stockholm, we can’t approve of Sweden’s participation in NATO,” Erdogan said.
He continued, “We’re not ready for Sweden right now.” Since a NATO nation ought to have serious areas of strength for a with regards to battling psychological warfare.”
Turkey has repeatedly requested that Sweden refuse to extradite individuals that Ankara describes as terrorists, claiming that Swedish courts are the only ones who can make a decision on the matter.
Erdogan additionally condemned US President Joe Biden for considering him an “dictator” in his 2020 mission for the White House. ” In a runoff election, would a dictator ever participate?” Erdogan inquired.
An election with high stakes
Erdogan expressed optimism regarding the ongoing presidential election. For Turkish democracy, this is a first. He stated, “I believe my people will participate in the elections on Sunday for a strong democracy.”
On May 14, he beat Kilicdaroglu by nearly five points in the first round of the election. His decision Equity and Improvement (AK) party likewise won an agreeable parliamentary larger part. Erdogan asserted to CNN that voters may be discouraged by the prospect of voting for a hung parliament, arguing that he expected his party’s strong performance in the parliamentary contest to improve his chances in the presidential runoff. He stated, “People who seek stability will do what is necessary at the polls.” Stability and confidence are very important.
In the first round, neither candidate reached the 50% threshold needed to win the presidency.
Opinion polls had predicted a slight advantage for Kilicdaroglu, the 74-year-old bureaucrat and leader of the CHP, but the outcome was unexpected.
Six resistance bunches had shaped an extraordinary bound together front to attempt to wrest power from Erdogan, who likewise confronted headwinds from a thrashing economy and the outcome of the overwhelming quake on February 6 which killed in excess of 50,000 individuals.
The opposition has accused Erdogan of hollowing out the country’s democratic institutions during his 20-year rule, eroding the power of the judiciary, and repressing dissent, describing the election as a last stand for Turkish democracy.
The president’s doubters likewise accused his unconventional monetary strategies – specifically his refusal to raise loan fees – for liberated expansion and a falling lira.
In his meeting with CNN, Erdogan denied taking action against opportunities, asserting that “no one is in the slammer for their thoughts in Turkey.” In the weeks leading up to the elections on Sunday, more than 100 journalists, lawyers, and local politicians were reportedly detained.
Additionally, he claimed that his decision to lower interest rates has already had a positive impact. Inflation and interest rates are positively correlated, according to my thesis. According to Erdogan, the lower interest rates are, the lower inflation will be. In terms of the actions we have taken, we have seen outcomes.
It was also anticipated that the opposition would be buoyed by the shoddy initial response to the massive earthquake, which officials acknowledged and apologized for. However, on May 14, Erdogan won most of votes in Turkey’s crushed southeast. In this election, Turkey’s nearly 4 million Syrian refugees are also a contentious issue. Kilicdaroglu has stated that he will expel Syrian refugees. Sinan Ogan, the third-place candidate in the race, is an ultra-nationalist who has stated that he would support the candidate who has a more stringent policy regarding refugees.
In his campaign videos, it appears that this prompted Kilicdaroglu to adopt a more rigid stance regarding refugees. Erdogan has stated to CNN that he will not comply with Ogan’s requests.
He said, “I’m not a person who likes to negotiate in such a manner,” in response to rumors that Ogan would win the runoff as the kingmaker. The people will decide who becomes king.
Erdogan has stated that he will instead “encourage” approximately one million refugees to return to Syria, despite opposition calls for a complete deportation of refugees. In order to facilitate their repatriation, he stated, Turkey was constructing homes and infrastructure in Turkish-controlled areas of the war-torn nation.
“Turkish NGOs are building private units in northern Syria so displaced people here can return to their country. “This process has already begun,” he stated to CNN. One million refugees are being encouraged to return home by us.
As part of a regional effort to bring displaced Syrians back to the troubled nation, elections in Turkey that are focused on deporting Syrians are being held. Jordan and Lebanon, which additionally have a huge number of Syrian displaced people, have likewise called for mass bringing home.
In Ankara, Turkey, Sinan Ogan addresses the media as the ballots were being counted after the presidential and parliamentary elections ended at 5 p.m. local time on Sunday.
An extreme right patriot lawmaker might determine Erdogan’s political destiny
It likewise comes as a feature of an influx of territorial standardization with the system of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in spite of various charges of war wrongdoings and violations against mankind evened out against the despot.
Erdogan, who supported armed Islamist opposition groups during the civil war in Syria, stated that he is also eager to turn the page, working with Putin, Assad’s main supporter.
He said, referring to Kurdish militants in northeast Syria, “through my friendship with President Putin, we thought we could open a door, specifically in our fight against terrorism in the northern part of Syria, which requires close cooperation and solidarity.”
“On the off chance that we can do that, I said I see no snag that would stay in the method of our compromise,” he said, while promising to keep up with Turkey’s presence in northern Syria in spite of Assad preconditioning chats on Ankara’s withdrawal from the region.
“We have in excess of 900 kilometers of line and there is a steady dread danger from those boundaries on our country,” he said. ” The fight against terrorism is the only reason our military is stationed at the border. That is the sole explanation.”