Opposition politician under investigation for allegedly insulting election officials

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Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into an opposition politician from the Gelecek (Future) Party for allegedly insulting election officials and provoking hatred and enmity among the public, Turkish media outlets reported on Friday.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched the investigation into Gelecek Party Deputy Chairman Selçuk Özdağ over remarks that allegedly targeted officials from the country’s Supreme Election Board (YSK).

In a recent interview with the Yeniçağ daily, Özdağ was asked whether the YSK would approve the candidacy of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan if the general and presidential elections are held as scheduled in 2023 because the Turkish Constitution says a person can only serve two terms as president and can’t run for the top state post for a third time if the elections are held as scheduled.

In response Özdağ said if the YSK violates the constitution and approves Erdoğan’s candidacy, his party would launch a campaign against the 11 members of the council, who are all judges, and would have banners with their names and photos hung across the country saying, “The people who violated the constitution.”

“They won’t be able to look people in the face. We will make life unbearable for them and not let the constitution be violated,” said Özdağ.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office said Özdağ blatantly threatened public officials and provoked hatred and enmity among the public with his remarks targeting the YSK officials.

Opposition politicians frequently face judicial harassment, attacks and even jail terms in Turkey. Dozens of Kurdish politicians including the former co-chairpersons of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) are in jail on bogus charges.

In late November Turkish defense analyst and Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) politician Metin Gürcan was also jailed on charges of political and military espionage.

Both the Gelecek Party and DEVA Party are newly established organizations whose founders are former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) heavyweights Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan, respectively, who parted ways with Erdoğan and his AKP due to a series of disagreements about AKP policies.

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