Imamoglu vows to win the elections “by a margin of millions”
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu flexed his muscles in Turkey’s central city of Konya amid a heated debate over who will be designated as the joint candidate in next year’s elections against President Tayyip Erdogan, with pledges to “bring the nation to its feet” and outscore in the elections “by the millions.”
“Our plan is obvious: to be in power in 2023, to get rid of this evil. We know how to struggle, how to embrace our nation,” he said addressing to an enthusiastic crowd after attending to a meeting by 10 other fellow mayors of CHP (Republican People’s Party)
On December 13, a Turkish court sentenced Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to jail and imposed a political ban on the opposition politician who is seen as a strong potential challenger to President Tayyip Erdogan in elections next year.
Imamoglu was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison along with the ban, both of which must be confirmed by an appeals court, for insulting public officials in a speech he made after he won Istanbul's municipal election in 2019.
“In the conscience of our citizens, this ruling is not a court decision, it is a political decision,” Imamoglu said, adding that the ruling bloc was trying to eliminate their adversaries.
Analysts say the court ruling raised the profile of the 52-year-old former businessman who thrilled Erdogan's opponents when he won control of Istanbul in 2019, ending 25 years of dominance by Erdogan's AKP.
But the opposition parties are yet to agree upon a candidate giving Erdogan a headstart in a campaign where he pledged to lower the inflation and increase the purchasing power of people.