Western Media tries to meddle with the upcoming Turkish elections

As we have argued in one of our earlier articles, countries try to meddle with each other’s politics. The meddling can be done explicitly or covertly; by the hands of the state or the private sector. Today, as we close in on Türkiye’s national general elections, which are to be held on the 14th of May, media outlets of Western countries do not hide their intentions to affect the voters in Türkiye.

Western media is trying to meddle with the upcoming elections in Türkiye. This meddling is not the first time the West tried to interfere with Turkish internal politics, but the importance of the current instance persists.

Recently, be it state-sponsored or not, Western media has been trying to shift public opinion in Türkiye and the rest of the world. The media outlets' rhetoric shows explicit bias against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling AK Party (Justice and Development).

The main reason for such rhetoric seems to be President Erdoğan’s foreign policy choices, Nadeen Ebrahim of CNN says. Türkiye’s route of balancing the west and ‘the rest’ disrupts Western states’ plans, such as admitting Finland and Sweden into NATO. Thus, the claims made by the media outlets generally convene around Türkiye becoming a “dictatorship” –in case President Erdoğan renews his term– and democracy and economy “eroding further.”


Multiple media outlets have been making claims that seem to converge around the economy and democracy. 

One of the media outlets, British-based The Economist, has an exclusive report consisting of eight chapters detailing Türkiye’s economic and political outlook.

In this report, The Economist criticizes President Erdoğan’s almost two decades of rule with claims of deteriorating justice, economy, and democracy. The Economist also alleges AKP and President Erdoğan of controlling state funding and the media to ensure that “the elections are fought on his terms.” The Economist argues the 2023 elections to “be crucial for what remains of Turkey’s democracy,” suggesting that democracy in Türkiye is somehow damaged.

German-owned, US-based news website Politico’s writer Paul Taylor recorded words that crossed the line. Insolently, Taylor went as far as to claim that President Erdoğan “may start a war to stay in power.” In the same writing, Taylor even accused Türkiye of being on an “authoritarian, expansionist road” under President Erdoğan’s rule. Taylor’s arrogance can be felt all-throughout his text for Politico, as his closing remark is “fingers crossed” to see President Erdoğan’s departure after this election.

British digital and press news organ Financial Times is one of the outlets which claimed an erosion of democracy within the last 20 years of AK Party and President Erdoğan’s tenure. FT also claimed that the court decision of İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s two-year prison sentence and ban from politics was politically motivated in a “Putinesque attempt.”

US-American news outlet The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain asserts that the 2023 elections could be the “last democratic vote” of Türkiye, hinting at yet another victory for President Erdoğan to possibly be the end for democracy in Türkiye, like almost all the other news outlets. 

These pieces are written with two central intentions in mind: First, affecting voter behavior in Türkiye; second, influencing public opinion in the rest of the world. With remarks clear as day on a few samples, it can be attested that influential news outlets of the Western media and their supporters do not want to see President Erdoğan starting another term in office. Thus, they are doing what the media does best by aiming to change public opinion.


President Erdoğan slammed foreign news outlets for their insidious efforts of attempting to influence public opinion for the upcoming elections.

TRT World quoted President Erdoğan as saying: “International media organizations, which do not even properly deal with the elections in their own countries, follow the election process in Türkiye every day."

At an event in Denizli, the President of Türkiye added: “They even go beyond following them and try to guide the public with their despicable headlines and sneaky articles they publish [...] Of course, we are aware of what bothers them, why they attack us, why they meddle in the elections in our country.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been elected by popular vote every time, fair and square. Trying to label the upcoming elections as the “last exit before Türkiye loses democracy” is nothing but contempt toward the people and the state of Türkiye.

Mansur Ali Bilgiç - 31/01/2023