AKP founder blasts Imamoglu’s conviction as a shame on judiciary
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP’s founding member and former parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc blasted Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu’s conviction as of being a shame on Turkish judiciary.
“The court’s verdict is a shame and a despair for the Turkish judiciary,” Arinc said via a social media post on Wednesday.
“From a legal point of view, I sincerely believe that the decision will be reversed by the higher court as soon as possible,” Arinc said, warning AKP authorities of the political outcomes of the court’s decision.
“As long as this mistake is not rectified, the political consequences of the decision will only pave the way for building a strong candidate profile against the AKP,” he said.
A Turkish court on Wednesday has sentenced Imamoglu to 2 years, 7 months and 15 days in prison on charges of insulting the members of a top election board. The court also banned him from politics, a decision which needs to be finalized by the supreme court in order to be implemented.
In May 2019, Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) ruled to annul and re-run the mayoral election held on March 31, 2019, after the AKP appealed the vote, claiming that the opposition candidate Imamoglu’s victory came after electoral fraud and irregularities.
Condemning the YSK’s decision, Imamoglu said the electoral board had bowed to pressure from the ruling party. “Those who cancelled the election are fools,” he said.
A re-run held in June landed Imamoglu another victory for mayorship.
Turkey’s popular opposition mayor’s name is among the strongest possible presidency candidates to run against Erdogan in next year’s presidential elections, according to leading polls.