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Turkish anti-immigrant candidate endorses Erdoğan’s challenger

Turkey’s anti-immigrant Victory Party leader endorsed opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Wednesday, potentially boosting the challenger as he aims to make up ground and defeat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sunday’s runoff election.

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Ümit Özdağ, head of the nationalist Victory Party that received 2.2 percent support in the May 14 parliamentary vote, urged supporters to back Kılıçdaroğlu in the May 28 runoff in which Erdoğan seeks to extend his two-decade rule.

“We have decided to support Kılıçdaroğlu in the second round of the presidential elections,” Özdağ said at a news conference in Ankara alongside the endorsed candidate.

He also revealed that his party and Kılıçdaroğlu agreed on a plan to send back migrants within a year “in line with international law and human rights.”

The endorsement could counter-balance one that Erdoğan received on Monday from the presidential candidate of the far-right alliance led by the Victory Party.

The race for endorsements from the right reflects the larger-than-expected support for nationalists on May 14. Analysts say many remain undecided, holding a possible key to victory in the runoff.

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