Türkiye’s opposition scrambles to close gap ahead of May 28 runoff
Turkey’s Supreme Election Board confirmed the results of the May 14 Turkish presidential election with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan securing an apparently insurmountable 49.24 percent ahead of the May 28 runoff.
The third candidate, the nationalist Sinan Ogan, received 5.28 per cent support and the former academic backed by an anti-migrant party might hold the key to the presidency with his endorsement.
Ogan said his support would go to the candidate who took a tough stance on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and created a timeline for the return of nearly 3.7 million Syrians.
Kilicdaroglu, in an unseemly scramble to attract Ogan’s nationalist support base, is now vowing to return all refugees as soon as he takes office. He also alleged Erdogan was “selling citizenship to provide imported votes”.
Syrians have been granted Turkish citizenship with Turkey offering a “golden passport” to anyone buying property worth US$400,000. The scheme is popular with Russians, Iranians and expats from several Arab countries.
In Turkey’s parliament, Erdogan’s AK Party retained its majority based on support for the party’s hard-right allies.
The opposition hopeful Kemal Kilicdaroglu has shifted to woo Ogan’s nationalist voters with promises to expel refugees and reject any possibility of a peace process with Kurdish separatists.
The main Kurdish party, the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), did not run a candidate in the presidential election to support Kilicdaroglu, allowing Erdogan to claim the opposition was winning terrorist support.
Kurds make up about 20 per cent of Turkey’s population.
The 74-year-old Kilicdaroglu accused Erdogan of “sitting at the table with terrorists” during secret talks with the PKK.
“Erdogan, aren’t you the one who repeatedly sits at the table with terrorist organisations and made deals behind closed doors? I will never follow any compromising and secret path you follow,” claimed Kilicdaroglu.
Erdogan said he would not pander to Ogan. “I’m not a person who likes to negotiate in such a manner. It will be the people who are the kingmakers,” he told CNN.
But Erdogan and Ogan met on Friday in Istanbul with no details being released.
The unsmiling Erdogan appears destined for another victory. Picture credit: Wikipedia