- Ibrahim Shams
- BBC – Beirut
The spotlight has been on the nationalist candidate for the presidency of the Turkish Republic, Sinan Ogan, after the elections went to a second round for the first time in the 100 years of the founding of the modern state.
Ogan got only 5.17% of the vote, but the failure of both other candidates to exceed the 50 + 1% crucial to the identity of the president from the first round made him decided in the decisive round.
The candidate of the Justice and Development Party, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, received 49.5% of the vote, compared to 44.88% for his rival, the leader of the Republican People’s Party, Kamal Kilicdaroglu.
The main question is who will vote for Ogan. The latter said, after the results were announced on Monday, that he had not yet reached a final decision on whether to endorse either of them, adding that he expected a final decision by the end of next week to “avoid ambiguity.”
Who is Ogan?
Ogan was born into a family of Azerbaijani origins working in agriculture, in the state of Igdir on the borders with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iran in 1967, and completed his primary and secondary education in the city before studying business administration at Marmara University.
He obtained a master’s degree in financial law in 1992, and a doctorate in international relations and political science from Moscow State University of International Relations in 2009.
Ogan was known as an experienced academic, and in 2004 he founded the Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis.
As for politics, he belonged to the National Movement Party and was elected in 2011 as a deputy in Parliament, and in 2015, he announced his candidacy for the position of party leader, but he was expelled from it before returning to it by a court decision.
In March 2017, he was expelled from the party again, along with three of the party’s deputies, for announcing a “no” vote in the referendum on the constitutional amendment, and for carrying out an active campaign in the ranks of the party to call for that, so the party’s Central Disciplinary Council decided to punish the four with “final expulsion.” .
Who supported Ogan in the presidential elections?
Ogan is the candidate of the “ancestors” coalition, which is made up of small right-wing parties: the Zafar Party, the Justice Party, the Turkish Alliance and the Baladi Party.
But what is Ogan’s ability to direct his voters to elect one of the parties on May 28?
Joe Hamoura, a political researcher specializing in Turkish affairs, said in an interview with BBC Arabic that Ogan “does not have the voter bloc that voted for him. Those who voted for him were supporters of other parties and voters who found in him an alternative to the existing alignments in society between the Justice Party.” Development and the Republican People’s Party.
Turkish political analyst Fouzi Zakir Oglu agrees with this view. He told BBC Arabic, “The majority of those who elected Sinan Ogan in the first round are not ‘loyal’ voters whom he could direct to elect another candidate. Most of them elected him because they were not satisfied with the other candidates.”
Between Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan.. Who prefers Erdogan?
Ogan clearly declares his rejection of the relationship with the Kurdish parties in general, and mainly the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Kılıçdaroğlu’s weighty ally. Erdogan also received support from the Kurds, represented by the Islamist Huda Bar Party.
Ogan is also known for his demand for the return of refugees by force to their countries, and he agrees with Kilicdaroglu, who promised to return the refugees, and disagreed with Erdogan, who believes that their return should be voluntary, given the availability of conditions for it.
Hamoura believes that what will prevail over Oghan is his interest, “therefore he has one of two options: either to leave freedom for his supporters to vote, with an agreement with Erdogan to obtain some gains, such as the position of vice president of the republic and to obtain the appointment of ministers or senior administrators that he chooses, from without losing the popular bloc that it represents,” or that “the coalition clearly announces its support for Erdogan in exchange for these gains.”
In the second round of elections, it is not required that the candidate with the highest number of votes obtain the ratio of 50 + 1. And if Erdogan manages to keep his alliance together, he is likely to get the same percentage that he won in the first round, which makes him closer than his rival to winning five new years in power.
In this context, Hamoura points out that Ogan “guarantees victory if he allies with Erdogan, which will not be decided if he allies with Kilicdaroglu.”
Also, the victory of the Public Alliance – which includes the parties of Justice and Development, the National Movement, Welfare and the Great Union – in the largest parliamentary bloc, may encourage Ogan to ally with Erdogan, as he will be able to pass legislation in the House of Representatives, and the matter is not the same with Kilicdaroglu if he wins.
Hammoura explains, “Betting on Erdogan gives greater hope of winning, given his popularity is greater, and his ability to grant greater gains to Erdogan in the form of positions in the state. This gives the latter the ability to build in order to win the upcoming elections, as power opens up areas for him to influence and build relationships.”
However, although the parties to which Ogan’s electoral base belongs may not adhere to his choice in the second round, “but that does not prevent him from allying himself with anyone, to remain a player in political life,” according to Hammoura.
However, Zakir Oglu expects that Ogan’s voters will not participate in the second round, which is in Erdogan’s interest if his voters do not fail to participate.
The Turkish elections are of great importance internationally, due to the importance of the changes in the country on its foreign policy as a balancing country in the Middle East and a member of NATO, after 20 years of Erdogan’s rule.
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