Erdogan secures support from 3rd-place finisher in Turkey's elections
On Friday, Sinan Ogan met with Erdogan and held separate meetings with allies of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Turkey's third-place finisher, Sinan Ogan, and leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party said on Monday that he will be endorsing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the second round of Turkey's elections which are scheduled to be held on May 28, 2023.
"We will support the People's Alliance candidate, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the second round of the elections on May 28," he told reporters. "I invite voters who backed us in the first round to support Mr. Erdogan in the second round."
Ogan obtained 5.2 percent of the vote on May 14. Were it not for him, Erdogan could have won in the first round.
On Friday, Ogan met with Erdogan and held separate meetings with allies of opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Read more: Sweden meddling in Turkish election, Ankara proclaims
Ogan, a staunch supporter of a brand of nationalism founded on the values of the post-Ottoman republic's creator Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, has been an outspoken proponent of the expulsion of migrants in Turkey, while also seeking a firm position against Kurdish groups fighting for autonomy in Turkish territory.
He is also known for preventing the opposition from proceeding with a bill proposal that would dilute the Turkish language at the expense of other linguistic groups in the country.
Observers have argued that Ogan's endorsement could be decisive for the upcoming elections, with some going as far as calling him a 'Kingmaker.'
"Ogan's newfound reputation as a kingmaker is an exaggeration... Ogan's backing for Erdogan is no guarantee that his voters from the first round will follow in lockstep," Hamish Kinnear of the Verisk Maplecroft consultancy told AFP.
"Assuming Erdogan's first round voters remain on side, only a small portion of Ogan's voters need to go with Erdogan to push the president into his third decade in power."
Read more: Turkish Central Bank to maintain interest rates ahead of run off
Where Erdogan has been the target of criticism for his policies targeting civil liberties, including from his main rival opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu who accused Erdogan of failing to "protect the borders and honor of our country," Kilicdaroglu has himself been the object of serious concerns amid recent meetings he held with US officials.
Erdogan has made it clear that he has no plans of making any concessions to Ogan in exchange for a political endorsement.
Shortly after the news broke out, Kilicdaroglu tweeted an aggressive message accusing unidentified forces of "selling out this beautiful country" and signaled his intention to continue pursuing the nationalist vote.
"We are coming to save this country from terrorism and refugees," Kilicdaroglu wrote. "This is a referendum. No one can fool anyone anymore."
Read more: Erdogan says he wont interfere in the youth's lifestyles