The verdict is in. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu was sentenced to two years, seven months and fifteen days in prison by the 7th Criminal Court of Istanbul’s Asian Side Court. He will also be deprived of participation in political life, under article 53 of the Turkish penal code. As in previous hearings, a large police presence had been dispatched to the scene.
Judged for insult
He was tried for insulting the members of the High Electoral Council for having described as“idiots” the people who annulled the result of the Istanbul municipal elections in March 2019: a lawsuit “tragicomic”according to the interested party.
If the court decision must still be confirmed on appeal, the symbol is strong. On the evening of the decision, thousands of people and leading political figures gathered in front of the buildings of the great metropolitan municipality of Istanbul to denounce a political trial.
“We see that justice is no longer independent. It is no longer the principles of justice that prevail; we see once again that it is politics that dominates”, Ekrem Imamoglu protested at the podium, at the very place where he came to celebrate his victory in June 2019.
The mayor of Istanbul in the lead for the presidential election
A few months before the presidential and legislative elections, the decision does not surprise anyone in Turkey. While Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed his candidacy to run for a third term as president, the opposition coalition led by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and The Good Party (Iyi Party) has still not announced the name of the candidate who will come to challenge the indestructible stay.
However, the mayor of Istanbul, a young man in his fifties appreciated by his constituents, figures in a good position in the opinion polls with which the polling institutes have been feeding public opinion for months. A recent survey by the Metropoll Institute gave Ekrem Imamoglu the favorite against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the event of a second round of the presidential election.
After twenty years of AKP rule, these elections will be crucial for the future of the country. If the first ten years of the party in business had been placed under the sign of rapprochement with the European Union and relative economic prosperity, the last decade was particularly difficult for the population.
A humiliation for Erdogan
On March 31, 2019, the election of Ekrem Imamoglu – canceled for the first time, then renewed in June – for mayor of Istanbul was experienced as a humiliation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had himself occupied this function between 1994 and 1998. The results of the elections had been canceled and then they had been renewed in June. The confirmation of Ekrem Imamoglu as mayor put an end to twenty-five years of AKP rule in the megalopolis and was interpreted as the harbinger of a political change on a national scale. As soon as he took office, the AKP and the members of the government did not stop putting spokes in his wheels.
Source : BBN NEWS