Istanbul, 6 September 2019 (dpa/MIA) – A court on Friday sentenced the Istanbul chief of Turkey’s main opposition party to nine years and eight months in jail for insulting the president, spreading terrorist propaganda and other charges, according to court documents seen by dpa.
Canan Kaftancioglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) was not immediately arrested, pending the outcome of an appeals process. Prosecutors had initially sought a sentence of up to 17 years in prison.
The court found Kaftancioglu guilty of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in social media posts between 2012 and 2017. She was also charged with insulting the Republic of Turkey, provoking hatred and hostility among the people and spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.
Kaftancioglu is widely viewed as one of the architects of the recent mayoral election victory in Istanbul of Ekrem Imamoglu.
Kaftancioglu criticized the court verdict as a product of political influence that “uses mafia methods,” in remarks outside the Caglayan courthouse in Istanbul.
“We will not be silenced until the palace’s influence is ended, no matter what the cost,” she said, in a veiled reference to Erdogan’s office.
CHP lawmaker Sezgin Tanrikulu accused the government of wanting to “punish” the party for its Istanbul victory.
“Rights, law, and justice will prevail,” he said.
Istanbul Mayor Imamoglu took office in June after a decisive victory in an election rerun that had been demanded by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) over alleged fraud.