The trial of the Istanbul chairperson of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is politically-motivated its deputies have claimed, the T24 news website reported on Friday.
On Friday Canan Kaftancioglu, the leader of CHP in Istanbul, went on trial over charges that include insulting the president and the state, publicly provoking hatred or hostility and making propaganda for a terrorist organization.
If convicted, she faces who up to 17 years in prison.
A number of CHP deputies, Kaftancioglu herself being in the first place, held forth that the trial, the first hearing of which came soon after their party’s victory in Sunday’s Istanbul re-run, was a politically-motivated move to intimidate the opposition.
Ekrem Imamoglu, the CHP candidate who won Istanbul’s mayoral election rerun on June 23 against Binali Yildirim from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), stated that he stands with Kaftancioglu “until the very end.”
According to a report by Gonca Tokyol from T24, the indictment against Kaftancioglu includes social media posts that were shared by her six years ago as evidence for the charges that she faces.
“I accept none of the charges in the indictment. Those who should be tried here are those who gave orders and instructions to the judiciary,” said Kaftancioglu during the first day of the trial on Friday.
Implying that Erdogan uses the judiciary as a tool to threaten the opposition in wake of its Istanbul win, she said: “The light of hope that was kindled in Istanbul disturbed someone. That someone wants to threaten the social opposition through me because he did not get any result from the people, at the ballot box.”
The trial, which was observed by a large crowd of members from CHP and some unions, was adjourned until July 18.
Supporters of the main opposition party have been protesting the charges against the politician on social media using the hashtag “#
The former European Parliament rapporteur to Turkey, Kati Piri, on Thursday voiced support of Europe’s socialists and democrats for Kaftancioglu.
“Tomorrow another political trial in Turkey. This time against CHP Istanbul Chair Canan Kaftancioglu – the brave politician who greatly contributed to the success of Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu,” Piri said in a tweet.
CHP Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu said that the trial of Kaftanciog is a political one.
“The motive here is to call Canan Kaftancioglu to account for the election won in Istanbul,” Tanrikulu underlined.
Veli Agbaba, the deputy chairman of CHP, stressed that the purpose of the trial is to silence the opposition in Turkey. “However, they won’t succeed in their efforts,” he added, referring to Erdogan and his AKP.
“They are afraid because they have lost Istanbul,” said Ali Seker, another Istanbul deputy from CHP.
“They are trying to stay in power by threatening people. They are using the judiciary as a tool of oppression,” he added.
Becoming the CHP Istanbul provincial head 18 months ago, Kaftancioglu has been credited as the person behind Imamoglu’s victory on June 23.
She argued that the investigation into her social media posts had been launched two days after being elected as the party’s Istanbul chair.
The politicians further indicated that the indictment against her was prepared after Imamoglu was declared the winner of the March 31 mayoral election in Istanbul, before the electoral authority ordered a rerun on June 23, which the CHP candidate won again with a greater margin.