A delegation of members of the Azerbaijani parliament visited the offices of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in eastern Turkey on Wednesday to show their support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Sunday’s presidential runoff, the Serbestiyet news website reported.
The presidential election, held on May 14, saw incumbent president Erdoğan vying for re-election against his main rival Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Official results put Erdoğan at 49.52 percent of the vote, narrowly missing the mark, while Kılıçdaroğlu received 44.88 percent. With neither candidate securing the required 50 percent in the first round, election officials announced that a runoff would be held on May 28.
According to Serbestiyet, a group of Azerbaijani lawmakers led by Deputy Speaker of Parliament Adil Aliyev arrived on Wednesday in the eastern province of Iğdır and visited Ali Kemal Ayaz, the ruling AKP’s provincial chairman.
The occasion for the visit was to express support for Erdoğan days before the runoff election.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Aliyev said Turkish President Erdoğan and his Azerbaijani counterpart, İlham Aliyev, have taken the brotherhood between Turkey and Azerbaijan to the highest level.
“It is impossible for us to forget the support provided by the Turkish nation and the state, as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during the 44-day war,” he added, referring to Turkey’s key role in Azerbaijan’s military victory over Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh in November
The delegation next visited Iğdır Governor Hüseyin Engin Sarıibrahim and then proceeded to the town of Melekli, which has a large Azerbaijani population, accompanied by the AKP’s Ayaz and Cantürk Alagöz, the party’s lawmaker in Iğdır.
Aliyev also spoke during a visit to the AKP office in the town, expressing support for Erdoğan once again.
“The people of Azerbaijan love Turkey, and they love President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. … Being among you today, sharing the joy of this victory [of the May 14 elections] with you, is our duty as Turks from Azerbaijan,” he said.
Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its electoral alliance secured a majority in the parliamentary elections, winning 321 out of 600 seats.
Ali Özgündüz, a former İstanbul lawmaker from the main opposition CHP who was in Iğdır campaigning for the runoff, reacted to the Azerbaijani delegation’s visit to the AKP, saying it’s not in Azerbaijan’s best interest to interfere in Turkey’s internal politics and support one side in the presidential race.
“Regardless of who governs the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Azerbaijan, the friendly and fraternal relationship between Azerbaijan and Turkey will continue. This relationship didn’t begin with the AKP government and won’t end with their departure [from government],” Özgündüz added.