Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Turkey’s 10th president, has endorsed the presidential candidacy of main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who visited him at his Ankara home on Thursday, Turkish media outlets reported.
Following the announcement of his presidential nomination by an opposition bloc of six parties earlier this month, Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kılıçdaroğlu has been visiting political parties and prominent figures to seek their support.
On Thursday Kılıçdaroğlu paid a visit to Sezer, 81, to ask for his endorsement for his presidential bid in the May 14 presidential election.
Sezer, who briefly spoke to reporters following his meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu, said he wished the CHP leader success in his quest for the presidency.
When asked if he supports his candidacy, Sezer said, “Yes.”
A former chief justice at the Constitutional Court, Sezer was elected president in 2000 and served until 2007.
Sezer, who is known for his staunchly secular views, had frequent conflicts and disagreements with the Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), which came to power as a single party government in 2002.
AKP leader and then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had on many occasions complained about laws or bureaucratic appointments being vetoed by Sezer.
Erdoğan, who was elected president in 2014, is running for re-election in this year’s election.
Many say Sezer served as a brake to Erdoğan’s efforts to concentrate power at the time. Sezer was succeeded by Abdullah Gül in 2007, one of the co-founders of the AKP who rarely vetoed laws passed by his former party and was accused by the opposition of acting like a notary public.