Istanbul opposition leader faces jail time for social media posts

The story ( 28.05.2019 ), please read the briefing below as well:

An Istanbul court on Monday accepted an indictment charging the chair of the main opposition party’s Istanbul branch with insulting the president and spreading terrorist propaganda, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Last week, Turkish prosecutors prepared the indictment against Republican People’s Party (CHP) official Canan Kaftancıoğlu for insulting the Turkish government, the president and public servants, inciting “hatred and enmity”, and “distributing propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, mostly on the basis of tweets she posted between 2012 and 2017, said Anadolu.

The first hearing is set for June 28, and prosecutors seek a prison sentence of up to 17 years, Anadolu said. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is among the eight litigants who brought the case against Kaftancıoğlu.

Kaftancıoğlu said she had posted all but one of the tweets mentioned in the indictment, but denied the accusations. The CHP official said her tweets were within the legal bounds of freedom of expression and criticism.

Kaftancıoğlu was a prominent figure during the campaign for the March 31 local elections in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, where CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won the mayoral seat by a narrow margin over his ruling party rival.

But Erdoğan’s ruling party appealed the results, citing irregularities and fraud at the ballots. The Supreme Election Council, top election authority in the country, revoked İmamoğlu’s mandate and called a new election for June 23.

***

Briefing, 24.06.2019

Please find below the summary related to legal proceedings aiming at the head of CHP Istanbul, Dr. Canan Kaftancıoğlu.
“-The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, ruled by the AKP for 17 years, constitutes a vital financial resource and political symbolic value for this party’s ongoing power.
-For this reason, Erdogan and his close network had forced the YSK (High Electoral Board) to cancel the election, which was won by Imamoğlu on March 31, for controversial and judicially unacceptable arguments.
-Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the head of the CHP Istanbul, is the main actor behind Mr. Imamoğlu’s more comprehensive success and sweeping victory in the renewed election of June 23 and, AKP’s loss in Istanbul.
-The devastating damage inflicted by this female politician to the current ‘one man’ power is a striking success perceived as a humiliation by AKP’s male chauvinist political environment and requires revenge in Erdogan’s eyes.
-The instrument that the ‘omnipotent’ president uses to take revenge against his political rivals are the courts which are submissive to Erdogan and act on his instructions.
-For the purpose of revenge, an indictment was issued against this successful politician, Canan Kaftancioglu, for her 35 critical messages tweeted between 2012 and 2017, demanding a prison sentence of up to 17 years.
-The first hearing will be held on 28 June 2019.”
We rely on you to make it clear to segments of the public which are sensitive on democratic values such as human rights and freedom of expression.”

About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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