Turkey elections: Far-right Ogan joins Erdogan presidential campaign, criticises Kilicdaroglu

Turkey elections: Far-right Ogan joins Erdogan presidential campaign, criticises Kilicdaroglu
Sinan Ogan, the far-right politician who finished in third place during the first round of the Turkish elections, is now campaigning of behalf of Erdogan after criticising Kilicdaroglu.
3 min read
26 May, 2023
Former presidential candidate Sinan Ogan has been described as a far-right nationalist [Getty]

Sinan Ogan, the ultra-nationalist politician who finished in third place in the first round of Turkey’s presidential elections, has joined Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his campaign for the presidency.

Incumbent President Erdogan said in a television interview that Ogan will participate in a number of pre-election events and will also campaign in the city of Antalya alongside Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

He will also work as a partner in the People’s Alliance coalition of parties, which supports Erdogan, and will take part in television interviews to support the longtime Turkish leader's push for the presidency.

Ogan, who secured 5.2 percent of the vote on 14 May, announced he would endorse Erdogan and the People’s Alliance earlier this week, prompting anger from many Turkish opposition supporters.

The ultra-nationalist politician, who has Azerbaijani roots, told Turkish broadcaster TRT on Thursday that he did not "strike a deal with Erdogan", but their campaign venture is being carried out to make "the Turkish nation stronger."

Ogan criticised Erdogan’s rival for the presidency, Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, for gaining the support of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

The HDP chose not to put a candidate forward in the presidential race, but instead decided to endorse Kilicdaroglu.

Ogan questioned the opposition leader's ability to "fight terrorism" where the HDP is present, in refence to Kurdish groups fighting for greater autonomy in Turkey. He also referred to Kilicdaroglu's endorsement by Selahattin Demirtas, the imprisoned former co-chair of the HDP, who has been in pre-detention trial since 2016 on "terrorism" charges.

Ogan, a former member of the far-right Nationalist Party Movement (MHP), accused Kilicdaroglu of focusing on the return of Syrian refugees instead of discussing other topics, in reference to Kurdish support for his party.

The politician also said that Kilicdaroglu should be "thankful" towards him that he's in the runoff election, slated to take place on 28 May.

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In another interview with broadcaster CNN Turk on Friday, Ogan implied that Kilicdaroglu "does not aspire" to lead Turkey.

In the same interview, Ogan said he was "confident" that Erdogan will win the presidential elections "by at least 53 percent or more".

Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu will go head to head on Sunday in the presidential election runoff, with the opposition hoping to put an end to Erdogan's almost 20-year rule in the country. Neither candidate secured the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright during the initial round almost two weeks ago.