Türkiye’s third-place election candidate endorsed President Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, boosting the incumbent and intensifying the challenges for opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a Sunday runoff vote.
Sinan Ogan, a hardline nationalist who was little known among the broader public before the campaign, won 5.2 per cent support in the initial presidential election on May 14, prompting some analysts to call him a potential ‘kingmaker’ for the runoff.
“I declare that we will support the People’s Alliance candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the second round,” Ogan told a Press conference in Ankara, adding his campaign had made Turkish nationalists ‘key players’ in politics.
Kilicdaroglu’s Nation Alliance ‘failed to convince us about the future’, while the decision to back Erdogan was based on a principle of ‘non-stop struggle (against) terrorism’, he said.
Erdogan received 49.5pc support on May 14 compared to Kilicdaroglu at 44.9pc, while the ruling party’s coalition won a majority in parliament. That gives Erdogan an advantage as he seeks to extend his two-decade rule in what is one of Türkiye’s most consequential elections ever.
Ogan, 55, a former academic, was the first-round presidential candidate of an alliance of right-wing parties led by the Victory Party, which is known for its anti-immigrant stance in Türkiye, the world’s biggest host of refugees.
In an interview with Reuters last week, Ogan said his goal was to remove two mainly Kurdish parties from Türkiye’s ‘political equation’.