Imamoglu signals a possible candidacy against Erdogan
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu resembled himself to a “player” waiting for the coach to green-light him entering the “game” against the rivalling team.
In response to a question even if he considers himself as a possible candidate to run against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in next year’s presidential elections, Imamoglu said he is not the one to decide.
“It is up to the coach. I’m not the one to decide. But I'm a player who has the possibility of getting into the game,” main opposition CHP’s Imamoglu said in an interview with HaberTurk columnist Fatih Altayli on Tuesday, throwing the ball to CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
Pointing out last week’s court decision sentencing him to prison and banning him for politics, Imamoglu called on authorities “not to injure one of the opponent team's players who have the power to enter the game and to change the score, before the match begins.”
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.
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.
Imamoglu said he wants to hear Erdogan’s thoughts over his conviction.
“It's not just me, but also the Turkish society is wondering his thoughts. Mr. President should come out and share his opinion openly. He can either say, "Yes, this decision is correct," or he can say, "This decision is wrong.” He needs to be clear. Because I want a brave fight,” Imamoglu said.
Imamoglu asked whether Erdogan wants a brave fight as well or not.
“I wonder if they think that it is ok to injure a player from the opponent team off the field and leave him out of the game. They should tell the public openly if they find this right or wrong. I wonder if they can digest hitting him with a car on the road and leaving him out of the game,” he said.
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.