Nacho Sánchez Amor, the European Union’s Turkey rapporteur, has extended double congratulations to İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for winning last year’s mayoral election twice, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Monday.
“I congratulate you twice because you won the election twice,” Amor said during his visit to İmamoğlu in İstanbul.
Amor was referring to İstanbul’s mayoral election last year, which was controversially repeated by the country’s election authority.
“This process means a new political evolution for your country as you have unexpectedly become a political figure,” Amor said.
“We need to build a bridge between Europe and cities through cooperation with local governments and leaders.”
İmamoğlu, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate who initially won in local polls on March 31 by a narrow margin against ruling party candidate Binali Yıldırım, scored a much larger victory during the re-run on June 23.
Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the CHP’s İstanbul provincial chairwoman who was recently sentenced by a Turkish court to nearly 10 years in prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda, was also present at İmamoğlu’s meeting with the rapporteur.
Kaftancıoğlu is currently free on bail while her case is under appeal.