Istanbul Mayor fears removal from seat if Erdogan is reelected
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu could be removed from seat if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reelected in next year’s election, Imamoglu said in an interview with the Financial Times, just like many other mayors in the country’s south east region who were stripped of their offices in the previous years.
The mayor - a prominent opposition figure as a possible presidential candidate in the upcoming elections against Erdogan - is facing what he describes as a politically motivated trial that could see him banned from politics, the FT reported.
“They have done many things that would never enter our minds, that we wouldn’t believe or that we would say would never happen.” “A system with the mentality that it can cancel an election can do anything” the FT cited Imamoglu as saying.
A narrow triumph by Imamoglu in 2019 mayoral election of Istanbul was annulled by the Supreme Election Council but the mayor won the rerun by a landslide.
Imamoglu is charged with insulting public officials in a speech he made about the repetition of the election. The prosecutor wants an imprisonment verdict for four years and one month. A guilty verdict could lead to a political ban.
Imamoglu also blamed Turkey’s business community for the worsening economic crisis because of its failure to speak out in in his interview with the FT.
“I watch with sadness as the business world is still unable to show courage,” the FT cited him as saying.