Turkish political leaders have blasted an editorial in The Economist magazine which called for the country’s voters to support the opposition in this weekend’s election.
In a column entitled One for the opposition, The British news magazine commented: The best way for Turks to promote democracy would be to vote against the ruling party.
The Economist said that although the Turkish economy had flourished under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), it warned that Erdogan’s victories over the army and judiciary has given him too much power and will now allow him to indulge his natural intolerance of criticism and feed his autocratic instincts.
Although Erdogan is widely expected to win its third consecutive term, but he was livid over the article and alleged it was part of an anti-democratic, pro-Israeli conspiracy.
The international media, because they are backed by Israel, wouldn't be happy with the continuation of the AK Party government, Erdogan said, according to the state-run Anatolian news agency.
Long an ally of Israel, Turkey’s relationship with the Jewish State collapsed last year when Israeli commandos murdered nine Turks on a ship carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Similarly, Egemen Bagis, Turkey's chief negotiator in membership talks with the European Union, accused the foreign media of being part of anti-democratic and mafia-like organizations.
The Economist, in order to redeem itself, should ask for an apology from Turkish nation, Bagis added.
Former Interior Minister Besir Atalay, who is also running in the election under the AK Party banner, told the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman: We all know about the impact of the Israeli lobby in international media institutions. I consider this a reflection of Turkey's policies in regards to Israel and the Palestinian people.
Suat Kilic, an AK Party senior official, saw the Economist article as part of a conspiracy to weaken Turkey.
A growing Turkey does not suit the British or the Germans or the French. They want Turkey to be condemned to coalition governments again. That is the scenario, he reportedly said.
The Economist is supporting the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) citing that its triumph in the election would both reduce the risks of unilateral changes that would make the constitution worse and give the opposition a fair chance of winning a future election. That would be by far the best guarantee of Turkey's democracy.”
Erdogan claimed that the head of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is also part of the smear campaign. At a rally in the city of Konya, he said: Obviously the greeting that the CHP chairman sent to Israel found its response. An international magazine, I announce its name too -- The Economist -- publishes an analysis. Not indirectly, but directly, it says 'Vote for CHP.' How careless is this? How tactless is this?