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Turkey election: Third-place finisher endorses Erdogan
Sinan Ogan previously called for all refugees to be deported as one of his demands for an endorsement
The third-place contender in Turkey's presidential election, ultra-nationalist candidate Sinan Ogan, has thrown his support behind incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday ahead of a key runoff race.
It was initially unclear if Ogan would endorse Erdogan or his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Ogan received 5.2% of the vote on the first round of the election on May 14.
"We will support the People's Alliance candidate, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the second round of the elections on May 28," Ogan said in nationally televised remarks on Monday.
Ogan said it is important that the next president belongs to the same political alliance that won a majority in parliament.
He added that Kilicdaroglu's alliance "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."
What were Ogan's demands?
Last week Ogan outlined several conditions needed to earn his endorsement in the runoff.
Among them were taking a tougher stance against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and a creating timeline to deport millions of refugees — including nearly 3.7 million Syrians.
Ogan also tried stop the opposition from discussing changes to the constitution that could dilute language stressing the importance of Turkishness at the expense of other ethnicities.
However, Erdogan had said he would not bend to such demands.
"I'm not a person who likes to negotiate in such a manner. It will be the people who are the kingmakers," he said in an interview with CNN International.
In recent days, Kilicdaroglu had been making overtures to anti-migrant sentiment in Turkey, in order to get support from Ogan voters.
For example, Kilicdaroglu recently promised to send "all the refugees home" and ruled out any peace talks with the PKK if he secured the presidency.
zc/wd (AFP, AP)