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The Turkish opposition politician, the leader of the “Victory Party”, Umit Ozdag, has become on everyone’s lips in Turkey, from the government to the opposition and the loyalists, and even within the discussion circle of the Syrian refugees, who have gradually turned into a “fat substance” that tops his electoral platform and his political vision related to the presidential elections in 2023. .

Two years ago, Özdag’s name was not repeated a lot, except for a few statements targeting refugees, especially Syrians, but since that time until now it has “gradually increased”, and this is linked to the escalating offensive path he took regarding the refugee file.

At a time when he repeatedly emphasized that he would return them to Syria “forcibly, not voluntarily”, he used harsher language, in the past few days, to the point where he shared a picture of a bus with “Dhafer (the name of his party) Turism” on his account on social media, and said that he Asylum seekers will be returned.

Ozdag considered that the return to the “homeland” (Syria) will take place “in accordance with the law and through diplomatic agreements and by land”, in a position that had paved the way for him before that, by announcing the start of communication with the Syrian Foreign Ministry of the Syrian regime, in order to coordinate this.

“Exceptional Exhibitions”

Talking about the Syrian file in Turkey and plans to return them to their country is not limited to Ozdag only, but has recently withdrew to include the rest of the opposition parties, even the ruling party (Justice and Development) and its ally, the “National Movement”.

Last Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that Ankara was preparing a project that would allow the voluntary return of one million Syrians to their country, according to the state-run Anatolia News Agency.

But there was what distinguished the steps of that politician, the leader of the newly established party, which was that he approached the file from a “purely racist angle”, according to Turkish observers, while he went to criticize the nature of dealing with the asylum file. Not only by targeting the ruling party, but other opposition parties as well, including the Republican People’s Party and the Good Party, which it dismissed in March 2021.

Ozdag is mainly active through the social networking site “Twitter”, which is followed by nearly a million, in addition to the media with the self-opposition, which has been receiving him greatly, during the past months, due to the state of controversy that it raises on an almost daily basis.

In addition, the politician who spent most of his political life in the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (right-wing nationalist) had recently tended to publish video recordings from inside the street, in which he appeared receiving a number of Syrian people and families in separate states, addressing them with the necessity of Returning to Syria, we compare the “privileges they had with those of the original Turkish citizens.”

“Saddam Station”

Through his harsh stances against refugees in the country, Umit Ozdag has made himself a “controversial figure in Turkey,” according to Turkish political researcher, Hisham Günay.

This character may have roots that go back for many years, and Junay adds: “Especially since his father was an officer in the army, and was among the group of officers who tried to overthrow Adnan Menderes (the first elected Turkish prime minister executed by the military after the 1960 coup).”

After this incident, the Turkish researcher points out that his father was transferred to be appointed as an attaché at the Turkish embassy in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, “and in this capital, his son Umit Ozdag was born, and he lived there his childhood,” noting that “his father was a hard-line nationalist who cherished Turkish nationalism, and that is what withdrew him as well.” After returning to Turkey at the end of 1963.

The Turkish researcher explains, in an interview with Al-Hurra website: “He sees a somewhat different political approach in this from the other political approach. He has a special agenda that differs from the rest of the parties, especially as they depend on political thought that is far from accommodating everyone, such as the one through which the Justice Party walks.” and development to reap more votes.

While Ozdag, a few days ago, was continuing his “incitement campaigns” against refugees residing in Turkey, he entered into a “Saddam Station” and verbal altercations with the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleiman Soylu.

Soon, the foregoing was reflected in the users’ conversations in social media, and the Turkish media, which, until Friday, still singled out coverage to keep pace with the “other response and response.”

In an interview with a media station in Turkey, Soylu had made a series of statements regarding the asylum file in the country, and when the announcer asked him about his opinion on some of Ozdag’s positions, he said: “Do not ask me, otherwise I will leave this place. I do not put a person in place of a man for me.” … (and cursed him) He’s the son of operations. Soros’s kid, he’s clearly an intelligence officer.”

The Turkish minister added that Ozdag is “a disgraceful man, and he uses Soros’ tactic,” referring to the Hungarian-American financier George Soros.

After that, Umit Ozdag shared a message on his Twitter account, and told Soylu that he would go to the headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, on Friday, adding: “If you have a little courage, wait for me at the gate of the ministry without hiding behind the honorable Turkish police.”

Indeed, Ozdag went to the headquarters of the “Turkish Interior”, and the media published a series of video recordings of him attacking Soylu, using phrases: “The whole of Turkey and the world witnessed how cowardly Suleiman Soylu is, who insulted me and insulted my family.”

“silent takeover”

In the meantime, the quarrels and the state of clash that took place between Ozdag and Soylu were not without background. Two days ago, the Deputy Minister of Interior, Ismail Çatakli, announced that the Immigration Department would file a criminal complaint against him, for spreading misleading information about Syrian refugees in Turkey.

This came against the backdrop of the publication of a film entitled “The Silent Invasion”, and Ozdag publicly adopted his financing through his personal accounts.

The idea of ​​the film, which sparked a lot of controversy and prompted the Turkish authorities to arrest its director, “Handy Karajasu”, summarizes that Istanbul in 2042 will be destroyed, and Turkey’s future president will be among the Syrian refugees who chase the Turks and seek to kill them.

What drives him to do so?

The Turkish street is affected by what Turkish politicians say, which may turn any position or comment issued by them into a wide-ranging talk, and may also be translated on the ground in an accelerating manner.

Over the past few months, hostility against Syrian refugees in Turkey has escalated, with a number of politicians and opposition party leaders campaigning for stricter restrictions on them, led by Ozdag.

Political researcher, Hisham Junay, says that “the small parties that emerged after the presidential system, and the subsequent considerations related to the president and his need for 51 percent of the total votes, began to play a pivotal role paralleling their importance and the importance of large parties.”

Junay explains: “For example, the Nationalist Movement Party is now going with the Justice and Development Party. If we compare these two parties in terms of voting volume, we will see that the latter increases three times, but at the same time it needs it to exceed the 50 percent barrier.”

The Victory Party is newly established and is currently looking for a place in the Turkish political arena.

The Turkish researcher adds, “With this, Umit Ozdag saw a space in the refugee issue that he could play on. This space is in line with his political thought on the one hand, and with the context in which the rest of the opposition parties are moving.”

However, despite the calls and positions announced by the rest of the parties regarding the Syrian file, especially the Republican People’s Party and the Good Party, Özdag used a different rhetoric.

This difference is represented in “taking a sharp approach compared to the rest of the speeches of politicians,” and “exploiting the economic crisis that the country is going through, in parallel with the resentment of the largest class of society, the poor, and their full responsibility for the refugees,” according to Junay.

And he continues: “From here, Umit Ozdag finds a space to gain popularity and find a place in the media, which has already begun to embrace him, and invites him to find a platform and pass through. He is now enjoying a high viewership in Turkey.”

‘Volatile political life’

Before the Eighth Ordinary Congress of the MHP which was to be held on November 19, 2006, Özdag announced that he would run for the presidency against Devlet Bahceli (the current leader).

These statements prompted the party to dismiss him two days before the conference, to return to it again in 2010 by a court decision, and then to decide on the same story in November 2016.

After that political journey, Özdag joined in 2017 the “Good Party” with nationalist roots, which takes a “middle position”.

He held the position of Vice President for Strategy, Communication, Publicity and Promotion, and was elected as a deputy for Istanbul, until he was expelled in November 2020 due to his racist attitudes, which then prompted him to submit his resignation in March 2021.

In 2021, Özdag founded the “Victory Party” on August 26, 2021, after leading a political movement for several months.

According to opinion polls, his voter turnout now exceeds 2 percent.

Despite the “small number”, political researcher Junay believes that “it is considered a success for him, in addition to the fact that we are talking about the agenda that he imposed on the Turkish political reality himself.”

Ozdag’s orientation cannot be separated, according to the political researcher, “from the nationalist tendencies in other countries,” noting: “Le Pen’s party in France, for example, is not much different from it. Now it has begun to compete for the presidency. in Turkish politics through this racist orientation.”