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Leading Turkish opposition figure gets fine for insulting interior minister

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul branch chairperson Canan Kaftancıoğlu has been ordered by a Turkish court to pay a fine for insulting a public official in social media posts about Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in 2021, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.

The Ankara 71st Criminal Court of First Instance ordered Kaftancıoğlu to pay TL 10,620 ($582) to Soylu on the grounds that she insulted the minister in social media posts on May 24, 2021, when Soylu attended a live program on Habertürk TV, Anadolu said.

Kaftancıoğlu’s party membership was revoked by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals in June in line with a political ban imposed on her after she was convicted on three counts including insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other public officials.

After a five-year sentence handed down to Kaftancıoğlu was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals on May 12, the politician was jailed on May 31 and was released on probation on the same day.

Kaftancıoğlu, a doctor by profession, played a key role in the surprise victory of the CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, in 2019 — the first time in 25 years that Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had lost power in Turkey’s biggest city.

The sentence given to Kaftancıoğlu also prohibits her from running in next year’s elections.

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