Turkey president lashes out over The Economist's 'Erdogan Must Go' cover
One version of the cover of The Economist's latest issue published on Thursday is entitled 'The Most Important Election of 2023: Turkey and the Future of Democracy'. Surrounding the title are four circles. One features the Turkish flag, while the three others feature the phrases 'Vote!', 'Save Democracy', and 'Erdogan Must Go'.
"We will not allow our domestic politics to be directed and the national will to be swayed by the covers of magazines, which are the operational apparatus of global powers," Erdogan said in a tweet on Friday.
Erdogan became prime minister of Turkey in 2003 shortly after his Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) won democratic elections. He later assumed the presidency of the country in 2014 and switched Turkey to a presidential system of government.
But in his two-decade rule of he and the AKP have been accused of overseeing a backslide into authoritarianism.
Turkey regularly conducts mass arrests of political opponents, including members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) on terror-related charges. Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas was co-leader of the HDP when he was arrested in 2016 on such charges, and has remained in detention ever since.
Members of the Republican People's Party (CHP) to which presidential challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu belongs have also been targeted by Erdogan.
At the end of last year, the CHP's Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was convicted and banned from holding elected political office for comments made to media that were critical of authorities, in what Human Rights Watch said was a "violation of rights".
However, there are also fears that the CHP could infringe on the rights of Turkey's minorities, particularly Syrian refugees.
Kilicdaroglu has on multiple occasions vowed to expel the millions of Syrian refugees taking sanctuary in Turkey amid civil war in their home country. Erdogan has also said that he wishes to facilitate the "voluntary" return of Syrian refugees but has not been as outspoken on the issue.
The New Arab has contacted The Economist for comment but has yet to receive a response.
The political magazine has attracted controversy for its covers before - including one of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last summer.