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Turkey Elections: Far-right Victory Party throws support behind Erdogan challenger

As Turkey enters the final stretch to the presidential runoff, the political tone has gotten harsher with name-calling and libel suits.
YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images

IZMIR, Turkey — Turkey’s far-right Victory Party endorsed opposition candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu Tuesday in a move that may help him close the 5% gap with the frontrunner, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the runoff Sunday. 

The gesture is expected to counterbalance the support Erdogan received from Sinan Ogan, the third presidential candidate who garnered 5.2% of mainly nationalist and protest votes in the first round on May 14. Shortly afterward, the nationalist ATA Alliance of four small parties that fielded Ogan as its candidate fell apart and Ogan extended his support to Erdogan while Vecdet Oz’s Justice Party and Umit Ozdag’s Victory Party favored Kilicdaroglu. 

Ozdag, the architect of the nationalist ATA Alliance and the leader of its largest party, said on camera that he and Kilicdaroglu agreed on a seven-point protocol whereby “13 million refugees, particularly Syrians, would be sent home within a year.”  

But the former professor of international relations quickly added that the procedure would be done “within international law” and “ensure that they would be safe in their homeland.” 

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