Ekrem Imamoglu, mayor of Istanbul, was sentenced for “insulting public officials.” This charge comes from one of Imamoglu’s speeches in 2019. Imamoglu referred to election board members as “fools” after they ordered another election after complaints from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) after Imamoglu won the first election. Imamoglu won the second election by a massive margin of 800,000 votes, ending AKP’s 25-year rule over the city. Currently, Imamoglu is facing two and a half years in prison.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  Photo: Reuters

Ekrem Imamoglu, a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the centre-left party in Turkiye. Imamoglu defeated a hand-picked candidate of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (AKP) in 2019. Imamoglu was among three members of the CHP being positioned to face President Erdogan in 2023. With this sentence, Imamoglu will be ineligible to run for President in 2023.

 Canan Kaftancıoğlu Photo: Anadolu Agency 

Imamoglu is not the only member of the CHP to face prison for their words. Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the former CHP President was sentenced to 10 years in prison, later reduced to 5 years, for comments made on social media that were “supportive of terrorism” and “offensive to Turkish people and public officials and Erdogan.” Her posts included support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The Kurdistan Workers’ Party is a guerrilla group, which has been designated as a terrorist group by the EU and the United States, that aims to create a Kurdish state for the 40 million individuals who have been discriminated against primarily by Turkiye, Iraq, Iran, and Syria.

Erdoğan is facing multiple crises in Turkiye. Inflation of the Turkish Lira has hit a high of 85.5%, the highest since 1994. Over 66% of Turkish citizens are struggling to pay rent, driving a surge in consumer debt. Erdoğan is currently losing to most candidates in polls, including all three positioned members of the CHP, as well as Meral Akşener, the leader of the Good Party (İYİ), a third party, on the centre-right.

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