Erdoğan wins support from Turkey’s election ‘kingmaker’

Sinan Ogan, nationalist4%2C%202023%2C%20Turkish,and%20opposition%20leader%20Kemal%20K%C4%B1l%C4%B1%C3%A7daro%C4%9Flu.">Kingmaker” Turkey’s closely contested third-place finisher in the presidential election is pulling its weight behind President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday, though it is increasingly unclear how many of his first-round supporters will follow his lead.

The previously lesser-known Ogan was built on a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment to garner more than five percent of the vote in the first round of the presidential election held on 14 May. Despite the roughly 89 percent turnout needed to win, both candidates are working to secure 2.8 million former Ogan supporters ahead of Sunday’s runoff. Ogan’s support should be enough to see Erdogan through to victory.

However, since the May 14 vote, Ogan’s “ancestral coalition” has disintegrated, making it very difficult to predict which way his voters will turn on Sunday, as he does not have a coherent party structure to draw from. Is. Among other senior members of the coalition, Ömit Özdağ, chairman of the Victory Party, will announce his position on Tuesday, while Vekdet Öz, chairman of the Justice Party, has said he will support Kılıçdaroğlu.

Oğan said, when it comes to Turkey’s future stability, Kılıçdaroğlu’s coalition “could not assure us about the future and missed the mark”. Turkish nationalists are hostile to the Kurds, who have been important supporters of the opposition’s campaign, particularly in the country’s southeast.

The announcement comes after Ogan met both Erdogan and Kilikdaroglu for talks last Friday.

Erdoğan emerged from the first round with about 2.5 million more votes than his moderate Democratic rival, meaning Kilikdaroğlu would have to win almost everyone who voted for Ogan to reach the line. Although a significant portion of Kılıçdaroğlu’s support came from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) base in the east of the country, he has a fine line to walk between winning over the undecided right wing and alienating Kurdish voters. .

Kılıçdaroğlu faces an uphill battle to overtake Erdogan, who won more than 49 percent of the vote compared to his 45 percent in the first round.

He has stepped up anti-immigrant rhetoric, shedding his grandfather persona with love-heart gestures as he seeks nationalist votes.

On Monday, he released a video of Turkey targeting undocumented immigrants.

“Anyone who loves their country should go to the ballot box before these illegals make the lives of our girls miserable,” she said. Tweeted, referring to possible sexual assault cases involving immigrants. “Don’t forget, this is a referendum.”

Kılıçdaroğlu said last week that he would send all of Turkey’s refugees – which the UN says numbers more than 3.6 million people – back home, with Erdogan claiming the country had deliberately allowed 10 million refugees and millions more on the way. are in

Oğan ran as a political outsider, having previously been expelled from the right-wing MHP party, and said he would consider carefully before endorsing another candidate.

Before the election, he had made it clear that his support would come at a cost. “We will talk about our demands with the parties with whom we are sitting across the table. Obviously we are not going to partner for free. We will have demands like from ministries,” he said.

However, in an interview with new York Times On Friday, the 55-year-old said he would push for the most senior position in a new administration before making his decision. “Why would I be a minister when I can be vice president?” he said, refusing to give any indication whether he had received offers from either camp.