The third-placed contender in the Turkish presidential elections on Monday formally endorsed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the second-round runoff vote on Sunday.
The nationalist presidential candidate Sinan Ogan, 55, has emerged as a potential kingmaker after neither Erdogan nor his main challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, secured the majority needed for a first-round victory on May 14.
“I declare that we will support Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the candidate of the People’s Alliance, in the second round of the elections,” Ogan said, referring to the Erdogan-led alliance that includes nationalist and Islamist parties.
“We believe that our decision will be the right decision for our country and nation,” Ogan said.
Ogan, a former academic who was backed by a far-right anti-migrant party, won 5.17 percent in vote and could hold the key to victory in the runoff now that he is out of the race.
Erdogan received 49.5 percent of the votes in the first round — just short of the majority needed for an outright victory — compared with Kilicdaroglu’s 44.9 percent.
Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party and its nationalist and Islamist allies also retained a majority in the 600-seat parliament.
That increases his chances of re-election because voters are likely to support him to avoid a splintered government, analysts say.
Ogan cited Erdogan’s parliamentary majority as a reason for his decision.
“It is important that newly elected president is under the same [leadership] as the parliament,” Ogan said. Kilicdaroglu’s “alliance on the other hand, could not display sufficient success against the People’s Alliance, which has been in power for 20 years and could not establish a perspective that could convince us about the future.”
His endorsement of Erdogan came days after he held a surprise meeting with the Turkish leader in Istanbul. No statement was made following the one-hour meeting on Friday.
Ogan on Monday said that he did not engage in any horse trading with the Turkish leader.
Ogan had attracted votes from people who disapproved of Erdogan’s policies, but did not want to support Kilicdaroglu, who leads Turkey’s center-left, pro-secular main opposition party.
Analysts say that despite Ogan’s endorsement, it is not certain that all of his supporters would go to Erdogan. Some were likely to shift to Kilicdaroglu, while others might choose not to vote in the runoff race.
Umit Ozdag, the leader of the anti-migrant Victory Party that had backed Ogan, appeared to dissociate himself from the decision to endorse Erdogan.
“Mr Sinan Ogan’s statement is his own political choice. This statement does not represent [the views of] the Victory Party and does not bind the party,” Ozdag wrote on Twitter.
Ogan listed the conditions to earn his endorsement while speaking to Turkish media last week. Among them were taking a tough stance against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and a timeline for the expulsion of millions of refugees, including nearly 3.7 million Syrians.
Erdogan told CNN International in an interview that he would not bend to such demands.
“I’m not a person who likes to negotiate in such a manner. It will be the people who are the kingmakers,” he said.
In an apparent attempt to sway nationalist voters, Kilicdaroglu hardened his tone last week, vowing to send back refugees and ruling out any peace negotiations with the PKK if he were elected.
Pins hidden in her shoes, head forced down a toilet, kicked in the stomach: South Korean hairdresser Pyo Ye-rim suffered a litany of abuse from school bullies, but now she is speaking out. The 26-year-old is part of a phenomenon sweeping South Korea known as “Hakpok #MeToo,” where people who were bullied publicly name and shame the perpetrators of school violence — “hakpok” in Korean — decades after the alleged crimes. Made famous globally by Netflix’s gory revenge series The Glory, the movement has ensnared everyone from K-pop stars to baseball players and accusations — often anonymous — can be career-ending, with
One of Australia’s two active volcanoes on an island near Antarctica — known as Big Ben — has been spotted by satellite spewing lava. The lava flow on the uninhabited Heard Island, about 4,100km southwest of Perth and 1,500km north of Antarctica, is part of an ongoing eruption that was first noted more than a decade ago. The image was caught by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on Thursday, and is a composite of an optical picture and an infrared image. The lava is seen flowing down the side of Big Ben from near the summit, known as Mawson Peak.
SYMBOLIC: The bill sponsored by a cross-party group of lawmakers was hailed as a ‘historic moment’ in the fight for marriage equality, but is unlikely to pass Lawmakers in South Korea have proposed the country’s first same-sex marriage bill, in a move hailed by civic groups as a defining moment in the fight for equality. The marriage equality bill, proposed by South Korean lawmaker Jang Hye-yeong of the minor opposition Justice Party and co-sponsored by 12 lawmakers across all the main parties, seeks to amend the country’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage. The bill is unlikely to pass, but forms part of a trio of bills expected to increase pressure on the government to expand the idea of family beyond traditional criteria. The two other bills relate to
TIME TO TALK: Among China’s grievances were economic and trade issues related to Taiwan, but both countries emphasized the need to maintain communication US Trade Representative Katherine Tai (戴琪) on Friday raised complaints about China’s state-led economic policies during a meeting with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (王文濤), who objected to US tariffs and trade policies, as well as issues related to Taiwan, their offices said. However, statements from the US Trade Representative’s (USTR) office and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce emphasized the need for Washington and Beijing to maintain communication on trade. “Ambassador Tai highlighted the need to address the critical imbalances caused by China’s state-led, non-market approach to the economy and trade policy,” the USTR said in a statement released after the