Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is running for the office for the third time, on May 22 continued to claim that executives of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were singing the main opposition Nation Alliance's presidential candidate and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s campaign song.
Speaking during a live broadcast on state-run TRT, Erdoğan said “The CHP leader relied on the PKK terrorist organization. Kılıçdaroğlu has video shoots with those in Kandil. (PKK executives sang Kılıçdaroğlu's song). Doesn't matter if it's a montage or not. PKK members supported (the opposition) with videos.”
However, Erdoğan on May 7 displayed the montage video in question for the first time during a rally held in Istanbul.
After Erdoğan’s remarks on May 22, Kılıçdaroğlu called Erdoğan “fraudulent video fabricator.”
"I am tired of being slandered, this (Erdoğan) is not tired of slandering me. Show everyone who is clean and who is dirty my God. Amen!" he added.
Referring to Erdoğan's "Montage or not" remarks, CHP Istanbul Mayor and vice presidential candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu said "President Mr. Erdoğan confessed in live broadcast that the video of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, which (the former) showed to the nation at the rallies, was fabricated. This campaign of slander and conspiracy, which never befits a Muslim, has got in their way. The morality, conscience and foresight of this nation will not allow montage, slander and conspiracy."
Cumhurbaşkanı Sn. Erdoğan, mitinglerde millete gerçek gibi gösterdiği Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu videosunun montaj olduğunu canlı yayında itiraf etti. Bir müslümana asla yakışmayan bu iftira ve kumpas kampanyası ayaklarına dolandı. Montaja, iftiraya ve kumpasa bu milletin ahlakı, vicdanı… pic.twitter.com/EmvarGtK48— Ekrem İmamoğlu (@ekrem_imamoglu) May 22, 2023
During the election campaign the ruling People’s Alliance executives and Erdoğan have accused the opposition of “collaborating with the terrorist organizations and their political affiliations” in order to gain more votes in the elections. Kılıçdaroğlu and CHP figures have denied such claims on several occasions.
Speaking on third presidential candidate Sinan Oğan’s support for himself, Erdoğan said there was “absolutely no bargaining” with him. “The establishment of a Disaster Ministry might be on our agenda. We are working for the safe return of refugees in a short time,” Erdoğan said for Oğan’s requests.
Erdoğan officially received 49.52% of the votes, whereas Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.88% and Oğan received 5.17% in the first round of presidential elections on May 14. Turkey will held a run-off election on May 28.