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Turkey’s transport minister sues İstanbul mayor over remarks on Atatürk Airport

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Turkey’s Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu has filed a lawsuit against İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, seeking TL 250,000 ($17,000] in damages due to the mayor’s remarks about the minister and a closed-down airport in İstanbul, the Birgün daily reported.

Karaismailoğlu sued İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), due to the mayor’s remarks on a TV show last week during which İmamoğlu harshly criticized the minister for not consulting the people about the closure of İstanbul’s Atatürk International Airport.

İmamoğlu also accused Karaismailoğlu and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of wasting the nation’s money by closing down the airport and destroying runways and equipment worth millions of euros.

Atatürk had been the primary airport in İstanbul before the AKP decided to build a third airport in the city. It was closed on April 7, 2019 with the opening of the larger, $12 billion İstanbul Airport, though with much controversy.

Later, the government decided to build a pandemic hospital at the old airport, destroying two runways in the process.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had announced that they would build a “nation garden” in its place, but no move has ever been made in that direction.

İmamoğlu described Karaismailoğlu as a “miserable” and “arrogant” person who fails to heed the people’s views, saying, “The story of the Atatürk Airport is over.”

Karaismailoğlu’s lawyers claimed in their petition that İmamoğlu attacked their client’s personal rights with his remarks, which they claimed included insult and slander.

Ruling party officials in Turkey frequently sue opposition politicians due to their criticism of government policies.

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