New indictment seeks 6 years for opposition politician in case involving Erdoğan aide

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A new indictment drafted by an İstanbul prosecutor seeks a jail sentence of between two and six years for Canan Kaftancıoğlu, a politician from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), due to her alleged role in the photographing of the house of a presidential aide.

CHP İstanbul provincial executive Kaftancıoğlu is accused of instigating a violation of privacy.

İstanbul prosecutors in April started investigating Kaftancıoğlu for allegedly “promoting crime and criminals,” “praising crime and criminals” and “violating privacy” over a tweet in support of Suat Özçağdaş, a fellow member of the CHP İstanbul provincial organization who was already under investigation for allegedly photographing the house of Fahrettin Altun, the communications director of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Özçağdaş reportedly photographed Altun’s house after a public controversy erupted over Altun’s illegal construction on land adjacent to his own that he leased from a public authority for a monthly fee of only TL 258 ($33). In his statement to the prosecutors, Özçağdaş reportedly said he received orders from Kaftancıoğlu to photograph Altun’s house. The first indictment drafted against Kaftancıoğlu in December as part of the same investigation seeks a jail sentence of up to 10-and-a-half years on separate charges.

The illegal construction was demolished by the CHP-held İstanbul Municipality. CHP members on the city council have also filed criminal complaints against Altun.

Prosecutors actually decided to drop the initial investigation into the opposition politician, saying there were no legal grounds for further investigation and that her tweets about Altun were within the limits of freedom of speech. However, a new investigation was launched following an objection from Altun’s lawyers.

Kaftancıoğlu is regarded as one of the architects of the CHP’s municipal election victory in İstanbul last year, which ended Erdoğan’s long-running rule in the city and dealt a significant blow to his ruling party.

In September 2019 she was sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly insulting Erdoğan and spreading terrorist propaganda. She is free pending appeal.

Kaftancıoğlu was elevated to “special protection” status by Turkish authorities after she and her family received death threats. However, the government withdrew a protective detail it had assigned to Kaftancıoğlu after she was sentenced on insult charges.

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