UWI author Onur Sinan Güzaltan was the guest of Russia Today.
The British Economist published an article that claimed Erdoğan victory in the presidential elections would harm democracy in Türkiye. Güzaltan responded questions in regard to the article and Western interventions into the elections.
Below is the transcription of the program.
Our guest is Onur Sinan Güzaltan, Turkish political scientist. The West-based Economist magazine has published an article saying that Erdoğan winning the presidential elections would harm democracy. What is your take on that?
Interference in internal affairs
Regardless of whether I support Erdoğan or not: As a Turkish citizen, as a citizen of an independent country, in principle, it is sure that I am against the interference of any foreign powers in Turkish internal affairs. This article in the Economist openly and directly tries to interfere in Turkish elections. But I also have to add that this kind of Western interferences in Turkish elections is increasing the vote of President Erdoğan.
In addition, the article says that under Erdoğan’s presidency, Türkiye has become a “disruptive actor in the Middle East for developing relations with Russia”. Doesn’t it make sense that Türkiye does what is best for Türkiye?
Together with Russia in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus
As an independent country, Türkiye is following and defending its national interests and it is normal that we are cooperating with our neighbors. We are cooperating with Russia in different fields such as economy and energy. We are trying to resolve the crisis in Syria, Libya, and the Caucasus together with Russia. So it’s really difficult for us in the Turkish public to understand this aggressive policy of Western countries, especially the United States, against Türkiye.
Türkiye’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has already condemned the magazine and said he was pulling the article he had submitted for the weekly. Do you agree with his assessment that the Economist is meddling in Turkish elections?
Surely I agree with Mr. Çavuşoğlu. The article in the Economist is a direct interference in Turkish elections. So the Turkish government and Turkish authorities react against this attempt of the Western media to manipulate the elections.
Contradiction of the Turkish government
But there is also a contradiction that I have to point out. On the one hand, the Turkish government is against this kind of manipulation, but on the other hand, it is not giving up the “balance policy” between the West and the East. Everybody knows that Western governments try to destroy the Turkish government.
You talk about the balance. What is the difference between what the Economist is doing by publishing this biased information and what the US accuse Russian hackers of doing in the previous American elections? Do you think they are the same type of interference?
I think these are the disinformation campaigns by the West aimed at manipulating the public. They tried it in the US elections by blaming Russia. It was kind of a method for them to manipulate the American public. And now what they are doing with their media, the Economist and the others, is an attempt to interfere in Turkish elections.
I have to say once again that this kind of manipulation campaigns are no more working in Türkiye and increase the votes of President Erdoğan.
You mentioned Western manipulations. This seems like one of the first times we have seen Western media so focused on Turkish elections. Given the timing and everything that is happening, what do you believe is the angle here and what is so significant about these upcoming elections?
The main target
Actually it is not the first time. Türkiye is a member of NATO and Western media has always been dominant in Türkiye. But this time they are not strong as before. That is why they are becoming more aggressive compared to the other elections.
Their main target is related to the war in Ukraine. Türkiye and Russia have really good relations. Türkiye is not taking part in sanctions on Russia. The West is not happy with the good relations between Türkiye and Russia and trying to disrupt them by manipulating the Turkish elections.
Onur Sinan Güzaltan, Turkish political scientist, thank you very much.