The endorsement comes ahead of Sunday's runoff
The third-place finisher in the Turkish presidential election, Sinan Ogan, has officially endorsed incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over challenger Kemal Kilicdaroglu for the runoff vote, scheduled for May 28.
The endorsement was announced on Monday, after a surprise meeting between Ogan and Erdogan in Istanbul last Friday. No public statements were made after the meeting at the time.
"On May 28, 2023, I am stating that we will support the candidate of the People's Alliance, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the second round," Ogan said in a statement, referring to the electoral alliance between Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
Ogan argued that it was "the right decision for our country and nation" and cited Erdogan's parliamentary majority among the reasons for the endorsement.
"It is important that the newly elected president is under the same [leadership] as the parliament. [Kemal 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," Ogan argued.
Himself a former MP for the MHP, Ogan ran for president as an independent fielded by the Ancestral Alliance (ATA Alliance). The electoral bloc was formed by several lesser right-wing parties with various political platforms last year.
Ogan won some 5.17% in the first round of voting on May 14, and was immediately perceived as the 'kingmaker' for the runoff. The first round ended inconclusively, with no candidate meeting the 50% threshold to win outright. Erdogan garnered 49.5% of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party, his main challenger, received some 44.9%.