Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lashed out at German magazine Der Spiegel, certain media outlets in Turkey and “international circles” for seeking to ignite chaos in Turkey and supporting the presidential candidacy of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Erdoğan’s rival.
Speaking at an election rally in the western province of Muğla on Wednesday, Erdoğan, who is one of the contenders in the Aug. 10 presidential election, talked about a special issue prepared by Der Spiegel about him.
The magazine featured Erdoğan on the cover of its Aug. 4 edition with the headline “Der Staat Erdoğan” (The Erdoğan state). In the 16-page article, which was printed both in German and Turkish, the magazine discusses Erdoğan’s presidential aspirations, saying: “Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan began his political career as a democratic reformer. But those days are long gone. His battles against the country’s old elite and the demonstrators of Gezi Park revealed his despotic tendencies. Now, he wants to become president.”
Addressing his supporters in Muğla, Erdoğan said the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had failed to nominate their own candidates for presidency and that the parties did not consult their organizations when nominating İhsanoğlu as their joint candidate.
“Who is behind this candidate? There is Pennsylvania [a reference to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen]. Who else? There are certain media outlets. There are international circles. A magazine in Germany released a special edition about me and criticized me. It praises the other candidate, who was imposed [by the two main opposition parties]. Why is Germany doing this? Why is it making efforts to foment chaos here? A German magazine does not get involved in elections in Turkey without a reason,” he said.
Erdoğan said that the goal of these circles is to have someone who will comply with their demands elected as Turkey’s president. “They know that Tayyip Erdoğan does not walk the path they show. He walks the path shown by the nation,” the prime minister said in further remarks.
Der Spiegel also became a target of Erdoğan back in May, following a mine disaster in the Soma district of Manisa province that claimed the lives of 301 miners.
The magazine ran a story on May 14 on its website with the headline “Scher dich zum Teufel, Erdoğan” (Go to hell, Erdoğan). The headline was a direct quote of a miner in Soma who was angry at Erdoğan’s remark that mine accidents are natural, but supporters of the ruling party read the headline as an insult to the prime minister, and following the publication of the story, a campaign was launched on Twitter using the hashtag #ScherDichZumTeufelDerSpiegel (Go to hell, Der Spiegel).
A smear campaign against the magazine’s Turkey reporter, Hasnain Kazim, prompted the German magazine to withdraw Kazim from Turkey in May.