Turkish opposition angered by Ogan's endorsement of Erdogan

Turkish opposition angered by Ogan's endorsement of Erdogan
Sinan Ogan's endorsement of Turkey's current President Erdogan has put further pressure on opposition candidate Kilicdaroglu in the run-off.
2 min read
23 May, 2023
Ogan came in third place with only 5.2 percent of the votes on 14 May [Getty]

The Turkish opposition has expressed anger after ultra-nationalist Sinan Ogan threw his weight behind incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the election run-off next Sunday.

Ogan came in third place in the general election's first round on 14 May, winning only 5.2 percent of the votes. He is seen as a kingmaker in the polls, and many have suggested that whoever he endorses will likely becomes Turkey's next president.

On Monday, Ogan announced that he would back Erdogan, who faces opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu in the most important election in Turkey in decades.

Analysts question how much weight Ogan's endorsement carries with his voters.

Many Turks slammed him on social media.

"I got a lot of votes for him, I convinced my family, but he sold us. My vote is for Kemal Kilicdaroglu," one former Ogan supporter said.

Others shared a 2013 tweet by Ogan where he attacked Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"The AKP is trying to marginalise the growing popular movement. Some marginal groups and AKP agents are attacking us. Be careful!" he writes in the tweet.

Kilicdaroglu, who came just behind Erdogan on 14 May, called on the 8 million Turks who did not vote in the first round to head to the polling stations on Sunday.

"It is clear who stands by this beautiful country, and who stands by those who gave it up... We are coming to save this country from terrorism and refugees. This is a referendum, no one can fool no one anymore," the CHP leader said after Ogan endorsed Erdogan.

Other opposition parties criticised Ogan’s move to support Erdogan, expressing worry and discontent with his decision.

The far-right Victory Party said Ogan's stance "represents him alone".

Ogan portrays himself as an ardent supporter of a brand of Turkish nationalism espoused by the post-Ottoman republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

He has demanded the immediate expulsion of millions of refugees, particularly Syrians, and sought a firm stance on "terrorists" - a euphemism for Kurdish groups fighting for broader autonomy in Turkey's southeast.