Istanbul municipality orders disciplinary action against ISPARK officer

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) has demanded that a disciplinary proceeding be launched against an officer working at its subsidiary, ISPARK, over a social media post targeting the main opposition, Republican People’s Party (CHP), Diken news portal reported on Saturday.

The municipality changed hands following the local elections held on March 31, when CHP’s candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, took the lead against the governing Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Binali Yildirim by 28,000 votes.

CHP has demanded that disciplinary action be taken against Bekir Asliturk, who worked at ISPARK – an IBB company providing parking services throughout the city after he shared a post on his Facebook page.

“I won’t give this money to CHP, PKK, IP, and FETO,” Asliturk said in the post that displayed a photo of him holding a bankroll of money in his hand. ISPARK released a statement saying that Asliturk took the photo before handing over the income of the day to another officer in charge, without knowledge of the administration.

The incident took place following claims reported on Turkish media that, since the opposition party’s takeover of the municipality, ISPARK employees have stopped handing out receipts for parking fees.

Asliturk is not the first person to align secularist CHP and nationalist opposition Good Party (IP) with the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and FETO (Turkish government’s designation of faith-based Gulen Movement), which are identified as terror organizations by the ruling AKP.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and prominent figures of the ruling AKP have accused opposition parties, in many instances, of standing shoulder to shoulder with terror organizations.

The defeat in Istanbul came as a major setback for AKP, which appealed to the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) and demanded a vote recount in all 39 districts of the city.

The election authority ruled for full and partial recounts throughout Istanbul. Though nearly ten percent of the votes were recounted due to the appeals, and the vote margin between the candidates dropped to 13,900, the winner of the Istanbul race has not changed.

The ruling AKP then filed an extraordinary objection and demanded a re-run of elections in Istanbul, claiming that thousands of votes had been impacted by voting irregularities.

If the YSK accepts AKP’s appeal, a re-run of elections will be held in Istanbul on June 2.

Imamoglu called on the YSK on Wednesday, when he received his official mandate as mayor 17 days after the elections, to end the uncertainty over the Istanbul votes as soon as possible.

Opposition leaders mock President’s comments, greeting crowds with “Oh! Terrorists! How are you?”

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