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İstanbul ‘mayor-elect’ faces criminal complaint due to Anıtkabir visit

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A criminal complaint has been filed against Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor-elect of İstanbul according to unofficial election results, due to a visit he made to Anıtkabir where the tomb of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is located.

İmamoğlu, who is from the ranks of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), won the local election on Sunday in İstanbul against his rival Binali Yıldırım, a former prime minister fielded by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to unofficial election results.

Although Turkey’s Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced on Sunday that İmamoğlu received more votes than Yıldırım, he has not yet been given the mandate due to objections from the AKP to the election results in İstanbul.

Following the YSK’s initial announcement, İmamoğlu visited Anıtkabir on Tuesday to pay his respects to Atatürk, who was also the founder of the CHP, and signed the official memorial book there as the “mayor of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality.”

Yet, a lawyer in Samsun province, Elif Özge Çankaya, has filed a criminal complaint against him based on Article 262 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns “unlawfully assuming a public post.” The lawyer filed the complaint at the Samsun Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

İmamoğlu attracted criticism from the AKP and its leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, due to his Anıtkabir visit as the “mayor of İstanbul” before the official election results are announced.

In the meantime, Turkey’s Defense Ministry removed the memorial book at Anıtkabir after it was signed by İmamoğlu.

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