Turkey Sentences President Erdogan’s Rival To Jail With Political Ban

Turkey Sentences President Erdogan's Rival To Jail With Political Ban

Critics say Turkish courts bend to Erdogan’s will. (File)


A Turkish court docket sentenced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to jail on Wednesday and imposed a political ban on the opposition politician who’s seen as a powerful potential challenger to President Tayyip Erdogan in elections subsequent yr.

Mr Imamoglu was sentenced to 2 years and 7 months in jail together with the ban, each of which have to be confirmed by an appeals court docket, for insulting public officers in a speech he made after he received Istanbul’s municipal election in 2019.

Riot police have been stationed exterior the courthouse on the Asian aspect of the town of 17 million folks, though Mr Imamoglu continued to work as standard and dismissed the court docket proceedings.

At his municipal headquarters throughout the Bosphorus on the European aspect of Istanbul, he advised 1000’s of supporters that the decision marked a “profound unlawfulness” that “proved that there is no such thing as a justice in as we speak’s Turkey”.

Voters would reply in presidential and parliamentary elections that are due by subsequent June, he mentioned.

The vote might mark the most important political problem but for President Erdogan, who’s in search of to increase his rule into a 3rd decade within the face of a collapsing foreign money and rampant inflation which have pushed the price of residing for Turks ever greater.

A six-party opposition alliance has but to agree their presidential candidate, and Mr Imamoglu has been mooted as a potential main challenger to run in opposition to Erdogan.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chairman of Imamoglu’s opposition Republican Individuals’s Celebration (CHP), mentioned he was reducing quick a go to to Germany and returning to Turkey in response to what he known as a “grave violation of the regulation and justice”.

‘Very unhappy day’

The European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, Nacho Sanchez Amor, expressed disbelief on the “inconceivable” verdict.

“Justice in #Turkey is in a calamitous state, grossly used for political functions. Very unhappy day,” he tweeted.

Mr Imamoglu was tried over a speech after Istanbul elections when he mentioned those that annulled the preliminary vote – wherein he narrowly defeated a candidate from Erdogan’s AK Celebration – have been “fools”. Mr Imamoglu says that comment was a response to Inside Minister Suleyman Soylu for utilizing the identical language in opposition to him.

After the preliminary outcomes have been annulled, he received the re-run vote comfortably, ending the 25-year rule in Turkey’s largest metropolis by the AKP and its Islamist predecessors.

The result of subsequent yr’s elections is seen hinging on the power of the CHP and others in opposition to affix forces round a single candidate to problem Erdogan and the AKP, which has ruled Turkey since 2002.

President Erdogan, who additionally served as Istanbul mayor earlier than rising to dominate Turkish nationwide politics, was briefly jailed in 1999 for reciting a poem {that a} court docket dominated was an incitement to spiritual hatred.

Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed former chief of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Celebration (HDP), tweeted that Imamoglu must be incarcerated in the identical jail the place Erdogan was held in order that he might in the end observe his path to the presidency.

A jail sentence or political ban on Imamoglu would must be upheld in appeals courts, probably extending an final result to the case past the elections date.

Critics say Turkish courts bend to President Erdogan’s will. The federal government says the judiciary is unbiased.

“The ruling can be last solely after the upper court docket decides whether or not to uphold the ruling or not. Underneath these circumstances, it will be flawed to say that the political ban is in place,” Timucin Koprulu, professor of legal regulation at Atilim College in Ankara, advised Reuters after the ruling.

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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