development storydevelopment story,
The third-place candidate says he will support the incumbent in the second round of voting on Sunday.
Sinan Ogan, who finished third in Turkey’s presidential election last week, has thrown his support behind the incumbent president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the run-off.
Erdogan endorsed Erdogan at a press conference in Ankara on Monday and said his campaign had made nationalists “key players” in Turkish politics.
Calling on his supporters to support Erdogan, he said, “We had all kinds of consultations before making the final decision. We made this decision because we believe that our decision is the right one for our country and our nation.”
The announcement came days before Turks return to the polls on Sunday to decide whether Erdogan or main opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu will lead the country for the next five years.
In the first round of voting on May 14, Erdogan received 49.52 percent of the vote, just short of the majority needed to secure a complete victory.
Kilicdaroglu, the candidate of the six-party opposition alliance, won 44.88 percent. Ogan finished third with 5.17 percent support, leading some analysts to dub him a potential “kingmaker” in the runoff.
The former academic was a candidate for the right-wing ATA coalition, led by the Victory Party, known for its anti-immigrant stance in Turkey, the world’s largest refugee-hosting country.
Kilicdaroglu has vowed to roll back many of Erdogan’s sweeping changes to Turkey’s domestic, foreign and economic policies, including reversing an unorthodox economic program that many economists said helped devalue the lira and caused inflation to soar.
Erdogan said the vote for him in the run-off was a vote for stability.
Analysts said the support for Ogan would give Erdogan a boost, but divide Ogan’s supporters. On Tuesday, the Victory Party will separately announce its position on the run-off.
Ogan’s endorsement of Erdogan came after he held a meeting with the Turkish leader in Istanbul on Friday. No statement was made after the hour-long meeting.
Ogan attracted votes from people who rejected Erdogan’s policies but did not want to support Kilicdaroglu, who leads Turkey’s main secular, centre-left opposition party.
Analysts said it is not certain that all of Oğan’s supporters will go to Erdogan. Some were likely to move to Kilicdaroglu while others might choose not to vote in the run-off.
Erdogan’s ruling AK Party and its nationalist and Islamist allies have retained a majority in the 600-seat parliament. Analysts said this increases Erdogan’s chances of re-election because voters are more likely to vote for him to avoid a splinter government.
Ogan listed the conditions to gain his support while speaking to the Turkish media last week. These included taking a hard line against the PKK, and setting a timetable for the expulsion of millions of refugees, including nearly 3.7 million Syrians.
Meanwhile, Erdogan told CNN International in an interview that he would not give in to such demands.
I am not a person who likes to negotiate this way. “The people will be the king-makers,” he said.
In an apparent attempt to sway nationalist voters, Kilicdaroglu hardened his tone last week, promising to return refugees and ruling out any peace negotiations with the PKK if elected.
This is an urgent story. More to track.
India train crash: More than 200 dead after Odisha accident
Moscow says Russia destroyed Ukraine’s “last warship” in the Black Sea
Covid investigation: Government ‘potentially loses legal action’, says minister