Turkish businessman and politician Cem Ozan, who lives in France, intends to run for president in Turkey's upcoming presidential elections. Uzan said this in an interview with Sözcü newspaper.
"Erdogan's [reign] period is coming to an end. Don't vote for early elections so that he can retire after 12 months. I am a presidential candidate and will be the president of Turkey in June 2023," the fugitive businessman noted.
According to his claim, Erdogan, the current head of the republic, cannot run for a new term. "According to the constitution, Erdogan's term expires on 25 June, 2023. In 2018, he was elected for a five-year term. There is no concept of early elections in our constitution, I have repeatedly read the basic law from the first page to the last, consulted with a constitutional law professor on the matter," Ozan said, commenting on opposition demands for early general elections.
The ruling People's Alliance, which includes the Erdogan-led Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party, had earlier nominated the incumbent president as the single candidate in the election.
The opposition, an alliance of six parties, has not yet officially named its candidate. According to local media quoting opposition sources, Kemal Kılıcdaroglu, leader of the Republican People's Party (PRP), may become its candidate. Analysts also call Istanbul and Ankara mayors Ekrem Imamoglu and Mansur Yavas, who, according to various sociological surveys, are more popular than Erdogan, as presidential contenders from the opposition. However, they say they intend to focus on their work as mayors.
Ozan, 62, a founder of the Youth Party, once headed one of Turkey's most influential media holdings, the Ozan Group. He was sentenced to prison in absentia for fraud in Turkey. Ozan himself denies the charges of fraud, claiming that the lawsuits are the result of his political confrontation with Erdogan. Ozan was granted political asylum in France.