Far-right ATA Alliance’s presidential candidate Sinan Oğan, who garnered 5.17 percent of the votes in the first round, on May 22 announced that he will support the ruling People's Alliance candidate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against the main opposition bloc’s candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round.
In the first round of the elections, Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.88 percent of the votes against President Erdoğan’s 49.52 percent.
During a press conference in the capital Ankara, Oğan stated, “We made Turkish nationalism and Kemalism the agenda of the country. As Turkish nationalists, we replaced the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) key role in the presidential elections. We contributed to the emergence of a strong and nationalist electorate in Turkey. We ensured that the candidates who made it to the second round embraced our discourse.”
In his speech, Oğan emphasized the importance of "stability" and the ruling People's Alliance getting the majority of the seats in the Parliament was important in his decision.
The ATA Alliance and Oğan were known for strict anti-refugee stance.
It is not known whether people who voted for Oğan will totally support Erdoğan because experts stated that most of Oğan voters might be protest voters who did not want to vote for both Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu in the first round.
On the other hand, the ATA Alliance dissolved and member political parties adopted different stances. Justice Party on May 22 announced that they will support Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round.
The Victory Party (ZP), the main component of the alliance that garnered 2.23% in the parliamentary elections, still has not make an official announcement. The ZP leader Ümit Özdağ on Twitter stated that Oğan’s support for Erdoğan is regarding his personal stance and does not represent the party’s official stance.
He will announce the ZP’s stance on May 23. He is expected to either stay neutral or endorse Kılıçdaroğlu's candidacy.
Sayın Sinan Oğan’ın açıklaması sadece kendi politik tercihidir. Bu açıklama Zafer Partisi’ni temsil etmemekte ve bağlamamaktadır. Zafer Partisi adına açıklama yarın saat 11.00’de benim tarafımdan yapılacaktır. @zaferpartisi— Ümit Özdağ (@umitozdag) May 22, 2023
Özdağ and Kılıçdaroğlu also scheduled a meeting on May 22 after their first meeting on May 19.
After Oğan's announcement, Kılıçdaroğlu said in a tweet that "It is clear who is on the side of this beautiful country and who is on the side of selling this beautiful country! We are coming to save this country from terrorism and refugees. This is a referendum: No one can fool no one anymore. I call on our eight million citizens and all our young people who did not come to the ballot box (in the first round) to vote!"
Kimin bu güzel vatandan kimin bu güzel vatanı satandan yana olduğu belli! Biz bu ülkeyi terörden ve mültecilerden kurtarmaya geliyoruz. Bu bir referandumdur; artık kimse kimseyi kandıramayacak. Sandığa gelmeyen 8 milyon vatandaşımızı ve tüm gençlerimizi sandığa çağırıyorum!— Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (@kilicdarogluk) May 22, 2023
After Oğan declared support for Erdoğan, some of his remarks against the government during the election campaign have resurfaced on social media.
During a live broadcast on Habertürk TV on March 27, he said "A Turkish nationalist (ülkücü) doesn't stand side by side with HÜDA-PAR even if you kill them."
Four candidates from the Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) were elected as MPs from the ruling AKP’s list, whose leader is Erdoğan. The HÜDA-PAR has been at the center of the controversy due to its direct affiliation with the radical Islamist terrorist organization Hizbullah.
In a social media video on May 13, one day before the elections, Oğan said "We will close the gates of hell. Believe us. Trust us. Everything will be very beautiful."
"Everything will be very beautiful" is CHP Istanbul Mayor and Nation Alliance VP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu's frequently used slogan.
After Oğan received an amount of vote that might place him as the "kingmaker" for the presidential runoff, the discourse of Turkish politics has shifted to a more nationalistic stance. The opposition bloc discarded its previous positive-toned campaign for the first round and adopted a more aggressive stance towards the government and immigrants in order to attract nationalist voters.