Ultra-nationalist Turkish politician Sinan Oğan, a presidential candidate defeated in the first round of the elections, has declared his support for incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the approaching presidential run-off vote.
Oğan specifically targeted Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in his annoucement. He said, “The HDP, which is an extension of terrorism, will not have the power to decide the president.” Oğan’s remarks echo the accusation that officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Erdoğan have repeatedly made against the HDP in the lead-up to the elections.
Oğan stated that Turkey is currently facing a critical period, and identified four pressing issues that require immediate attention: refugees, earthquakes, the economy and terrorism. Despite having criticised the government extensively before the 14 May elections, Oğan now emphasised the need for continuity in the current administration. He pointed out that the opposition bloc, the People’s Alliance, had failed to secure a parliamentary majority and consequently lacked the crucial factor of stability.
During the first round of the presidential polls, Oğan garnered more than 5 per cent of the vote, while Erdoğan secured a lead of nearly 5 per cent ahead of his rival, main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Although it is unclear how Oğan’s support will impact the outcome of the run-off, with only six days remaining until the decisive second-round election, Oğan’s endorsement adds a new dynamic to the already intense race between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu.