Ruling against Istanbul mayor expected (September 21)

CHP politician Imamoglu is facing jail and a political ban

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is worried about the upcoming ruling against the mayor of Istanbul, CHP politician Ekrem Imamoglu. “Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP are using the subdued judiciary to get rid of their opponents,” stated Tabea Giesecke, STP expert on ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities. “Further, the possible political ban clearly shows that the regime does not think much of democracy.”

Imamoglu is facing charges for allegedly calling civil servants “idiots” after they annulled an election he had won. A ruling is expected for September 21, with the possible outcome of a political ban and a prison sentence of up to four years. The proceedings have to do with the elections for mayor in Istanbul in 2019 – which Imamoglu, as a member of the opposition party CHP, had won. At the instigation of the AKP, the vote had been annulled without any obvious reasons. When the elections were repeated, the opposition politician had won with an even clearer lead. He defended himself against the allegations, stating that the Minister of the Interior had misinterpreted his speech and called him an idiot. Then, he had merely replied that anyone who followed this political approach was to be seen as an idiot. “Ekrem Imamoglu’s victory in the election shows that he is a potential political rival for Erdogan,” Giesecke added. “Erdogan fears that he might lose his position of power in the upcoming elections. This is why he is trying to eliminate a promising political rival at the forefront.”

A similar judgement had already been rendered against CHP politician Canan Kaftancioglu, who was accused of having insulted the president. In May, Kaftancioglu had been sentenced to four years and eleven months in jail. Further, she was deprived of her passive electoral rights. She is to be seen as one of the most important drivers behind the success of the CHP in Istanbul. “Istanbul had been ruled by the AKP since 1994. Thus, the victory of Ekrem Imamoglu and the CHP is especially important,” Giesecke explained. “It shows that the AKP and the current Turkish President are losing influence. The next presidential elections will be critical for the future of the country.”