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Erdoğan says opposition mayoral candidate will pay a price even if he continues his run

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Turkey’s President and the Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)  Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has targeted opposition candidate for mayor of Ankara Mansur Yavaş, saying that even if he continues to run in upcoming local elections, he will pay a price for fraud allegations leveled against him.

Campaigning on TV for elections on Monday night, Erdoğan said, “Even if he can run in the elections, these allegations will resurface after the polls, and he will pay a heavy price,” considered by critics on social media to be a veiled threat against the opposition.

Following Erdoğan’s statement, the pro-government Sabah newspaper ran a story on Tuesday saying that a new investigation had been launched into Yavaş for allegedly blackmailing businessman Necmettin Kesgin. The daily claimed that Yavaş kept a computer belonging to Kesgin with child pornography on it to blackmail him.

An Ankara court accepted an indictment last week seeking three years’ imprisonment for Yavaş, the former mayor of Ankara’s Beypazarı district, accused of misconduct and committing fraud in an official document. Sabah reported that Kesgin had filed a complaint about Yavaş in December 2017 on allegations of blackmail.

Yavaş last week denied Kesgin’s accusations of fraud in an official document, saying that his accuser, presented as a reputable businessman, is a convicted felon used by the government to defame him before the local elections on March 31.

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