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Turkish court bans access to fake video linking Kılıçdaroğlu with terrorism

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An Ankara court has banned access to a video clip linking President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s secular rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that Erdoğan recently acknowledged to have been doctored, the ANKA news agency reported on Thursday.

More than 40,000 people, including 5,500 security force members, have been killed in four decades of fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

Shown by Erdoğan at a huge rally in İstanbul on May 7 and broadcast on live TV, the 14-second clip showed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader and presidential candidate Kılıçdaroğlu trying to rally his supporters to the tune of his campaign song. In the next sequence, members of the PKK echoed that call while clapping their hands to the beat of the song.

The message Erdoğan was trying to convey in one of the latest pieces of disinformation to influence the May 14 elections was that the secular opposition leader had formed an alliance with “terrorists.”

During a live broadcast on the state-run TRT Haber earlier this week, Erdoğan referred to the 14-second clip, saying, “Fake or not, PKK members supported [the opposition] with videos.”

He also commented on the fake video during a rally in Sivas the next day and said that it was “the product of the quick wits of our young people who can encapsulate the truth in five seconds.”

According to a report by ANKA on Thursday, the Ankara 6th Criminal Court of Peace decided to block access to a tweet containing the fake video upon an application by Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer, Celal Çelik, on May 23.

The court based its decision on the grounds that the video clip constituted an “attack on Kılıçdaroğlu’s personal rights.”

Çelik also announced on Twitter earlier this week that they had filed TL 1 million ($50,000) lawsuit against Erdoğan due to the fake video he showed as “evidence” of the CHP leader’s links to terrorism.

CHP Deputy Chairperson Muharrem Erkek had also announced in a video on Twitter that they had filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Erdoğan in addition to people who had prepared and disseminated the fake clip.

Kılıçdaroğlu has been criticizing the AKP government’s divisive language and accusing it of attempting to manipulate the elections on May 14.

At a rally in Kayseri on April 29 Kılıçdaroğlu said, “I know the dirty tricks they’ll try in the last 10 days.”

Turkey will hold a presidential runoff on May 28 since initial results showed Erdoğan failing to secure a first-round win against his secular rival, Kılıçdaroğlu.

According to the results of the May 14 presidential election, Erdoğan received 49.5 percent of the vote, while Kılıçdaroğlu garnered 44.8 percent.

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