Sinan Ogan: The 'kingmaker' Turkey’s Erdogan doesn’t need

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© Yves Herman, Reuters

Turkish politician Sinan Ogan shot from relative obscurity to international fame after finishing third in the first round of the presidential election on Monday. But even as the ultra-nationalist candidate was basking in the potential kingmaker spotlight, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fared better than expected in the final score, proving that the man who has ruled Turkey for 20 years doesn’t need anybody to win his toughest electoral challenge yet.

At the inflection point on a long election night, just as Turks were sweating over an abrupt delay in voting data streaming in from the big cities, Turkey’s third man in the 2023 presidential race stepped into the spotlight.

Supporters of the secular opposition candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, were on a high alert for electoral irregularities since the data lag came just as their candidate, buoyed by the urban vote, was catching up with the incumbent, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The election was up for grabs at that stage, with both camps declaring they were leading the polls. The rival parties were united, however, in their hopes for a swift win to put an end to the jitters over who will lead Turkey for the next five years.

A member of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Ogan was elected to the Turkish parliament from his native Igdir region in eastern Turkey in 2011.

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