Turkey’s local elections are a mere less than three weeks away and controversial political games are ensuing unabated.
The latest stunt is the launching of a probe into Mansur Yavas, the opposition’s mayoral candidate for the metropolitan municipality of the capital city of Ankara.
The probe into the mayoral candidate of the Nation Alliance, formed by the opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) and Good Party(IYI), is in relation to alleged misconduct as a lawyer dating 10 years back.
According to most polls, Yavas is a leading candidate for Ankara. A recent poll showed him 10 points ahead of his rival, Mehmet Ozhaseki, the candidate of the People’s Alliance, formed by the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party, (MHP).
The prosecution has charged Yavas with attempting a repetitive collection of a bond from one of his clients, that was in 2009.
“We are facing the vilest attack in the history of our democracy,” said Yavas, pointing to the timing of the probe. His lawyer said Yavas was the real victim for being tricked with a fake bond, unable to collect his due.
The Chief Public Prosecutor of Ankara has sent the indictment to a heavy penal court for a final investigation, and if the indictment is accepted by the court, Yavas will be facing a sentence of up to three years in prison.
The Turkish government can appoint a trustee to a municipality instead of the elected mayor if the mayor gets a prison sentence. More than 90 percent of the municipalities in southeastern Turkey are now governed by appointed trustees instead of elected mayors.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly claimed the upcoming local elections were vital for the Turkish nation’s future and accused the opposition of taking orders from terrorist organizations.