AKP’s veteran figure slams Imamoglu verdict: “Not credible”

AKP’s veteran figure slams Imamoglu verdict: “Not credible”
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Cicek said this both harms the judiciary and a lofty concept such as justice, as well as doing a lot of damage to the country

Cemil Cicek, a former parliamentary speaker from Erdogan’s ruling AKP has slammed a Turkish court’s verdict on Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu of not being legally credible.

“If you decide on a one-sentence defamation claim after such a long time, and at such a critical threshold, neither the legality nor the accuracy of your decision will be convincing,” Cicek told Hurriyet’s columnist Sedat Ergin on Friday.

“I don't believe that it is credible either,” 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 Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) in 2019, when the YSK annulled a mayorship election following Imamoglu’s victory. The court also banned him from politics.

“This was a case that could be or needed to be finalized within three or four months. There is only one sentence in the file. If the relation of a sentence with law cannot be established after three years, then the legality of the decision will be controversial,” Cicek said.

“This both harms the judiciary and a lofty concept such as justice. It will do a lot of damage to the country as well,” Cicek said.

In May 2019, YSK ruled to annul and re-run the mayoral election held on March 31, 2019, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) appealed the vote, claiming that the opposition candidate Imamoglu’s victory came after electoral fraud and irregularities.

Condemning the YSK’s decision at the time, Imamoglu said “Those who cancelled the election are fools.”

Cicek who also has served as deputy prime minister and justice minister, is now a member of Turkish Presidency’s High Advisory Board.

Another former parliamentary speaker Bulent Arinc, one of the founding members of the AKP on Wednesday also slammed the court’s decision as of being a shame on Turkish Judiciary.

“The court’s verdict is a shame and a despair for the Turkish judiciary,” 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.

Turkish President Erdogan is facing presidential elections next year. Turkey’s popular opposition mayor’s name is among the strongest possible presidency candidates to run against Erdogan in next year’s elections, according to leading polls.