Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the opposition’s mayoral candidate for İstanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, may not be able to assume the post due to an incident in the Black Sea province of Ordu, where İmamoğlu allegedly insulted the province’s governor, according to Turkish media reports on Wednesday.
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.
Speaking on a program on Kral FM on Wednesday, which was broadcast by 15 national and 200 local radio stations, Erdoğan said the Ordu governor and the police officers involved in the incident would take legal action against İmamoğlu.
“I can’t know now what the judiciary will decide about this case, but a decision could emerge that would block his way [to the mayoralty],” said Erdoğan.
İmamoğlu was elected 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 Erdoğan’s 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 an appeal filed by the AKP citing irregularities in the election.
A repeat election in İstanbul will be held on June 23.