The former Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu described on Monday his joint candidacy by the opposition parties as a ‘great kindness.’ Ihsanoglu’s name was announced earlier Monday as the nominee for August’s presidential election after a meeting between Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of the Republican People's Party (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bahceli.

“It is a great kindness to be part of the focal point of this reconciliation,” said Ihsanoglu in a written statement. “Undoubtedly that there are many other highly qualified people who deserve this post. I welcome the joint decision of the CHP and the MHP with respect and gratitude,” Ihsanoglu added.

“This conciliation that the nation is in need and which is persistently demanded, is no doubt an important step to ensure peace and the stability in our country,” he said.

Ihsanoglu needs 20 MPs to support his candidacy before he can officially stand for the election scheduled for August 10.

The vote will be the first time that Turkey's president is elected by direct popular vote.