Turkish opposition parties say that they will support Istanbul Head of main opposition Republican People’s Party after she was jailed for nearly 5 years because several charges including the insulting President Erdogan.

Turkish Court Outrages Opposition, Confirming Opposition Leader’s Jailing

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Provincial Chairperson Canan Kaftancioglu (C) speaks to her supporters after a court verdict in Istanbul, September 6 2019. Photo: EPA-EFE/SERPIL GEDIK

Opposition supporters in Turkey have condemned the Court of Cassation’s decision to approve a local court ruling to jail Canan Kaftancıoglu, Istanbul Provincial Leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, CHP.

The court upheld three of the five sentences given to Kaftancıoglu because of her social media posts, including some dating from 10 years ago. The total duration of the approved sentences is four years and 11 months.

“We will work wherever we are and will breathe a sigh of relief when we establish the rule of law,” Kaftancıoglu said, adding that they will send the ruling evil away, meaning President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 20-year-long regime.

The approved court sentence also means an end for Kaftancioglu’s political career.

The Court of Cassation upheld the sentences of one year, six months and 20 days for “insulting a public official” and “openly degrading the state of the Republic of Turkey.” It also upheld the sentence for “insulting the president” but changed its duration from two years and four months to one year and nine months.

It overturned the sentence of one year and six months for “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” and of two years and eight months for “inciting the people to animosity and hatred.

Opposition parties condemned the decision as political and rallied in support for Kaftancioglu.

“All lawmakers of our party, immediately go to our Istanbul provincial headquarters,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of CHP, said.

The 50-year-old politician has been successfully presiding over the social democratic CHP’s Istanbul branch since 2018. She is also seen as one of the main architects of the Turkish opposition’s victory in local elections in 2019.

Oguz Kaan Salici, a CHP deputy from Istanbul, said Kaftancioglu was being punished by the government because of her success.

“This situation is sign of injustice in the country. They [the government] do everything to close the space for us to do politics. What is Kaftancioglu’s crime? Is it taking Istanbul from their hands?” Salici asked on a TV interview while going to the Istanbul party building.

In addition to the youth branch of the CHP, other political party officials also said that they will go to CHP Istanbul headquarters as a sign of support.

“We are coming from different ideologies but we will be there,” said Bugra Kavuncu, Istanbul Provincial Head of the junior opposition Good Party.

“We will stand with them and we will fight against the attacks of the palace [of Erdogan] shoulder to shoulder,” Erkan Bas, leader of the Turkish Labour Party, TIP wrote on Twitter.

Istanbul’s popular Mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, also said that he stands with Kaftancioglu.

“Kaftancioglu is my companion with whom we step through the change in Istanbul together. I find this decision political and I condemn it. I am with our president [of the CHP’s Istanbul branch]. I am going to support her,” Imamoglu said.

Following the opposition’s victory in Istanbul orchestrated by Kaftancioglu, Imamoglu who won elections in 2019 in Istanbul, is now accepted as the main rival to President Erdogan in the next presidential elections.

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