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Opposition’s mayoral candidate says gov’t using convicted felon to defame him

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Mansur Yavaş, the mayoral candidate for Turkey’s capital of Ankara from the opposition alliance, on Tuesday responded to allegations of misconduct and fraud, saying that his accuser, presented as a reputable businessman, is a convicted felon used by the government to defame him before local elections on March 31.

On Monday an Ankara court accepted an indictment seeking three years’ imprisonment for Yavaş, the former mayor of Ankara’s Beypazarı district, accused of misconduct and committing fraud in an official document. The pro-government Sabah daily reported that a businessman named Necmettin Kesgin had filed a complaint about Yavaş in December 2017 on allegations of blackmail.

During a press conference that the pro-government media did not cover, Yavaş denied the allegations, saying there is no court verdict against him, while his accuser has been convicted of fraud and is currently standing trial on accusations of child abuse.

The opposition candidate added that Kesgin was sentenced to four years for submitting fake official documents to him. Yavaş said he was the victim in the case and promised to file a complaint against the government officials who tried to defame him prior to the elections.

Yavaş ran against the former mayor from the governing party, Melih Gökçek, in a previous election and claimed that despite winning the vote, he lost due to fraud on the night of the election.

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