Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Erdogan’s fate now hinges on a candidate who had no chance of becoming Turkey’s president


The status of his support of third-place finisher Sinan Ogan is bad news for opposition leader Kemal Kilikdaroglu.

The Turkish politician, almost unknown to the world, has become a decisive figure in the presidential election.

While incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu both fell under 50 percent in Sunday’s initial round, the second round in two weeks will be dominated by the voter’s decision for national conservative Sinan Ogan.

The stakes could hardly be higher, as Ogan, through his voters, can influence whether Erdogan’s twenty-year rule continues.

Ogan got 5.17 percent of the votes in the first round. Kilicdaroglu got 44.89 percent and Erdogan got 49.50 percent votes.

Voter turnout was about 87, so it may not have been possible to attract a larger number of voters to the urn than those who voted for Ogan.

Ogan has not yet announced his endorsement of any of the finalists. In the past, he has criticized both, but his values ​​are clearly closer to conservative Erdogan, who has concentrated power for himself, than to social democrat Kilikdaroglu, who says he wants to restore democracy and parliamentarism to Turkey. Want – when Erdogan has made the country clearly the president.

Ogan was the presidential candidate of the nationalist and anti-immigrant ATA coalition.

“We have already made it clear that we will not compromise on the fight against terrorism and the return of refugees,” Ogan told Reuters news agency on Monday.

By the fight against terrorism, Ogan refers to the decades-long conflict between the government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey, the European Union and the United States define the PKK as a terrorist organization.

Kilicdaroglu, on the other hand, is mainly supported by Kurds, and promotes a more humane refugee policy than Erdogan and Ogan.

According to Ogan, he cannot support Kilicdaroglu if he does not rule out the possibility of making concessions to the pro-Kurdish HDP party, for which he received support in the presidential election.

All things considered, it will be easier for Erdogan to win over Ogan’s voters on Sunday next week than Kilicdaroglu. Even if Ogan, for one reason or another, unexpectedly comes to support Kilicdaroglu, it is hard to imagine that a clear majority of his supporters would do the same.

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