İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has been ordered by a court to pay a fine of TL 7,080 ($930) for insulting a former governor in the Black Sea province of Ordu.
The seventh and final hearing of the trial took place on Wednesday at the Ordu 4th Criminal Court of First Instance. İmamoğlu faced a sentence of up to two years in prison.
The case was filed against the mayor after he had a dispute with Seddar Yavuz, then-governor of Ordu, who reportedly ordered that İmamoğlu not be allowed into the airport’s VIP lounge for his departure flight on June 5, 2019. Then-mayoral candidate İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was touring northeastern Black Sea provinces as part of his campaign for a repeat İstanbul mayoral election slated for June 23, 2019.
The incident turned into a heated exchange of words between İmamoğlu, his entourage, Yavuz, airport officials and the police, local media said.
Following the incident, Yavuz filed a complaint with a prosecutor’s office, claiming İmamoğlu had insulted him.
İmamoğlu, who was disappointed with the court’s ruling, accused the court in a tweet of disregarding the witness statements and expert reports his lawyers submitted to the court as well as the principles of the law.
“It was my turn today, as a defendant, to observe the need for an independent judiciary. All this will end, and justice and the law will prevail sooner or later,” he tweeted.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens following a failed coup in 2016, is accused of taking the country’s judiciary under its control and giving orders to judges and prosecutors to punish its opponents and critics.