Turkey’s top business group says political bans have no place in modern democracies
Turkey’s top business group, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) slammed a court’s decision to convict Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu last week.
Orhan Turan, the head of TUSIAD said political bans have no place in modern democracies, in an interview with Ekonomim news website on Monday.
“Preventing the elected politicians who took office with the vote of the people from doing their duty and being elected because of their statements, should have no place in a contemporary democratic society," Turan 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 ruled to ban him from politics, a decision which needs to be finalized by the supreme court in order to be implemented.
Law and justice have always been an important issue in Turkey’s agenda, Turan said.
“Unfortunately, the political ban, which we have witnessed many times in our political past and which is also seen to be wrong, has come to the fore again,” he said.
“It is important to note that preventing the elected politicians who took office with the vote of the people from doing their duty and being elected because of their statements, should have no place in a contemporary democratic society,” Turan said.
In May 2019, 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.