Istanbul (Caasimada Online) – Sinan Ogan, who secured third place in Turkey’s presidential election, announced his endorsement of incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the upcoming Sunday’s runoff vote.
This move has significant implications, reshaping the dynamics of the electoral landscape, as the Middle East Eye predicted.
During his televised address, Ogan expressed, “As a result of these negotiations and consultations and messages from the grassroots, I declare that we will support the president.”
The former candidate, hailing from ultra-nationalist ranks, was known for his candidature under the Ancestral Alliance, a coalition of the Victory Party, Justice Party, and two other small nationalist parties.
His well-above-predicted 5.2% vote share in the first round made his endorsement crucial in this political contest.
The reason behind the support
Ogan’s desire for national stability and continuity of Erdogan-led alliance policies in parliament was pivotal in this decision.
He emphasized the need for consistent defense industry policies, supporting the Organisation of Turkic States, a vital alliance of Turkic countries.
“Our meetings with both candidates took place with statesmanly and mutual courtesy,” Ogan added, reflecting the thorough considerations behind his endorsement.
Despite Erdogan securing a hefty 49.40 percent of the votes, it falls short of the required 50 percent threshold, forcing a runoff against opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who secured 44.96 percent.
Thus, Ogan’s endorsement comes as a much-needed boost for Erdogan’s re-election bid. This could significantly sway the election in Erdogan’s favor, as Ogan’s substantial voter base could be instrumental in this race.
The unexpected turn
Contrary to Turkish opposition officials’ earlier prediction of Ogan’s support for Kilicdaroglu, an unexpected shift occurred following his meeting with Erdogan.
This has added an interesting twist to an already heated electoral contest.
The Ancestral Alliance was dissolved post-election as none of its candidates managed to secure parliamentary seats.
This breakup was followed by the Victory Party’s departure from the bloc, as stated by Umit Ozdag, the party’s leader.
Ogan’s campaign was centered on sending refugees back to their respective countries, aggressively combating “terrorist” groups like the PKK, and maintaining Turkey’s unitarian structure.
His staunch stance against political alliances with pro-Kurdish parties won him significant support among nationalist voters.
Critical points of agreement
Despite Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu’s conflicting views on the refugee crisis, Ogan received reassurances regarding his demands for refugee repatriation.
His endorsement came with the condition of adhering to the foundational principles of the Constitution, economic policy alterations, and an unceasing fight against terror groups.
As Ogan put it, “This calendar will work. All conditions will be created for their repatriation.”
In light of this, Erdogan’s team has signaled plans to repatriate a million refugees, reflecting potential alignments with Ogan’s key concerns.
The coming days will reveal whether this endorsement and the subsequent changes in rhetoric will have a decisive impact on Turkey’s presidential runoff election.
It has undoubtedly made the race more riveting, casting a new light on each candidate’s challenges and opportunities.