Istanbul’s deposed mayor Ekrem Imamoglu who was heckled while leaving an Istanbul mosque after a Friday prayer was also acclaimed by his supporters at the same time, Diken news portal reported on Friday.
Imamoglu, the main opposition secular Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate on Friday was met with a mixed reaction while exiting a mosque in Istanbul’s Yenibosna neighborhood.
Ibrahim Yayan from the Medyascope news portal reported that police officers made a man, who seemed like the leader of the protesters get in a police car and moved him away from the mosque following the incident.
“Damn the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party]. How can you support them without being ashamed?” Yayan reported the protester shouting at Imamoglu.
PKK, an armed militant group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been fighting for self-rule in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeastern region for more than 30 years.
This was not the first instance where an opposition figure was accused of supporting a terrorist organization in Turkey.
During the campaigning for the March 31 local elections, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the Nation Alliance, nationalist opposition Good Party (IP) and Islamist opposition Felicity Party (SP) for collaborating with terrorist groups. The Nation Alliance was formed by the CHP.
The accusations followed pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP)’s decision to sit out of the mayoral races in large cities and urge its supporters to cast strategic votes for the Nation Alliance on March 31, as part of its political strategy in Turkey’s west.
CHP’s Imamoglu won the race against the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s candidate in Istanbul partly due to the strategy of HDP, which Turkey accuses of having links with the outlawed PKK.
After less than three weeks in office, Imamoglu had to quit due to a ruling by Turkey’s Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) for a rerun of Istanbul’s mayoral election on June 23.
The decision to cancel the mayoral election result and hold a re-run in Istanbul came after the ruling AKP submitted a number of complaints to YSK that include alleged voting irregularities.