Turkish prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of up to four years, one month for İstanbul’s opposition mayor on charges of insulting election officials following the cancellation of a vote in İstanbul in 2019, Turkish media outlets reported.
Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and who ended the years-long rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in İstanbul in the local election of 2019, is frequently the target of judicial harassment.
İmamoğlu won against the AKP candidate in the March 31, 2019 local election, but the country’s election authority, the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK), decided to cancel the İstanbul vote, citing irregularities, leading to widespread criticism and comments that it was acting on orders from the AKP.
İmamoğlu again won the election held in June of the same year, increasing his support by 800,000 votes.
The indictment drafted by the Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against İmamoğlu claims that the mayor insulted 11 officials at the YSK in a press statement he made on Nov. 4, 2019.
İmamoğlu said at the time that the people who cancelled the March 31 election in İstanbul were “fools” because they had tarnished Turkey’s international image.
The indictment included a written defense statement from the mayor, who denied accusations that he insulted the YSK officials for cancelling the İstanbul election results.
İmamoğlu will appear in court if the indictment is accepted.
In March the mayor was 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. İmamoğlu denied the charges and described the case as politically motivated.