Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said opposition candidate for İstanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu cannot assume the post if he does not apologize to a governor whom he allegedly insulted, according to Turkish media reports on Monday.
The governor of Ordu province, Seddar Yavuz, filed a criminal complaint against Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul mayoral candidate İmamoğlu and CHP Deputy Chairman Seyit Torun alleging that they had insulted him and called him a dog. An argument broke out when the politicians were prevented from using a VIP lounge at the local airport in early June.
İmamoğlu denies insulting the governor.
In a meeting on Monday Erdoğan criticized İmamoğlu for allegedly insulting the Ordu governor and said although he claims to embrace everyone, he cannot even be respectful to the governor of a province.
“Such a person does not deserve this candidacy unless he first apologizes to the Ordu governor and our nation. [If not] he cannot assume such a post,” Erdoğan said.
İmamoğlu was elected as İstanbul mayor according the results of the March 31 polls in İstanbul, taking control of Turkey’s financial powerhouse after 25 years of rule by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors. His term as mayor lasted only 18 days, as the Supreme Election Council annulled the results of the vote over the AKP’s appeal citing irregularities in the election.
A repeat election in İstanbul will be held on June 23.