Turkey: Opposition warns the ruling bloc ahead of Istanbul Mayor’s court case
A senior figure from the main opposition CHP (Republican People’s Party) warned the ruling bloc not to meddle with the justice a day before a court decision that could see Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu banned from politics over a remark he made after the 2019 Istanbul elections.
“Do not attempt a new injustice, we will never let Imamoglu fall victim to your unjust plans about his fate,” said Seyit Torun, Deputy Chairman of the CHP.
On Monday, journalist Baris Terkoglu from Cumhuriyet newspaper claimed that the previous judge who presided over the court case came under pressure from the government to secure a conviction that would get the mayor out of the political arena.
Terkoglu cited judge Huseyin Zengin as telling judges and prosecutors that he had been advised by some prosecutors to sentence the mayor to over two years in prison and ban him from politics.
Terkoglu added that after Zengin told some of his colleagues he would decide against this advice, he was transferred to another city by a presidential decree in June.
"You have changed the judge who is handling the case. You have suggested that Imamoğlu gets politically banned. And you still continue to make insidious calculations. Here you are so helpless, so cowardly. But beware, do not intend to cause a new injustice to Istanbul or our country,” Torun said.
The indictment in the case asks for a ban for Imamoglu from politics and a jail time for 15 months “for insulting members of the Supreme Election Board.”
In November 2019, after the cancellation of the local elections for Istanbul municipality, Imamoglu said those who took decisions were “fools” because they had tarnished Turkey’s international image. He also won a repeat election held two months later by increasing his support.