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Erdoğan rival accuses government of blocking text messages

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Turkey’s main opposition leader and presidential candidate running against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday accused the incumbent’s government of blocking his text messages to voters ahead of Sunday’s historic election runoff, Agence France-Presse reported.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu accused Turkey’s information and telecommunication technologies authority (BTK) of acting on Erdoğan’s orders in order to hurt his campaign.

“They banned [the texts] because they’re afraid of us,” the secular opposition leader said in a late-night television interview.

“I’ve been left in a total blackout,” he added on Twitter. “I’m asking you, Erdoğan, do you not want me to run in the election?”

Kılıçdaroğlu’s campaign team said it had earlier sent out a mass text inviting people to tune in to the opposition leader’s television interview.

The BTK issued no immediate comment.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims came in the final stretch of an increasingly bitter battle for the Turkish presidency.

Erdoğan fell just short of securing outright victory on May 14 but is entering Sunday’s runoff as a firm favorite to extend his two-decade rule until 2028.

Opinion polls show Kılıçdaroğlu struggling to make up the five-point deficit he suffered in the first round.

The two rivals have been campaigning round the clock in what is widely viewed as Turkey’s most important election in generations.

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