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Turkey Elections: Deepfakes, disinformation ‘misdirect’ voters ahead of runoff

False claims and montage videos have featured heavily in campaign leading to Sunday’s presidential rerun.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to supporters at Justice and Development Party headquarters, Ankara, Turkey, May 15, 2023.

ISTANBUL — Claims and counterclaims, montaged videos and even fake sex tapes have blighted Turkey’s elections, leaving fact-checkers battling to unravel a mass of disinformation during the campaign. 

Voters return to the polling booths for a second time on Sunday to decide whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will extend his 20-year rule by another five years or if opposition challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu will become the country’s 13th president. 

A lengthy electoral campaign has seen politicians from all sides make unsubstantiated assertions, further obscuring the facts in what is widely seen as Turkey’s most vital vote in recent years. 

Probably the clearest example comes from Erdogan’s campaign in the form of a montage video purporting to show the leadership of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) backing Kilicdaroglu. 

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