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CHP’s İstanbul branch chair faces 17 years in prison as trial starts

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The trial of Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İstanbul branch chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu on charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and disseminating terrorist propaganda in social media posts six years ago will start on Friday, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

Kaftancıoğlu, seen as one of the architects of the opposition’s victory in the İstanbul mayoral election last weekend, faces 17 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation into her social media posts was launched in January 2018, when Kaftancıoğlu was elected CHP İstanbul branch chairperson.

In one of her tweets she quoted Sakine Cansız, a high-ranking member of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who was killed in France in 2013, and sounded sad after her death.

The prosecutor cited this tweet as evidence of terrorist propaganda, according to the report.

Her lawyer also claimed that some of the tweets cited as evidence were not even written by the CHP official.

According to Kaftancıoğlu, the government has been trying to make her into an enemy in order to continue its polarized rhetoric against the opposition, adding that if the opposition had not won the İstanbul election, there would be no trial.

The pro-government media targeted Kaftancıoğlu several times after the March 31 local elections in which the CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu won the mayoral office by some 15,000 votes in İstanbul.

Turkey’s election authority canceled the election results and in a repeat election, İmamoğlu won again, this time by an 800,000-vote margin.

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