A Turkish court on Wednesday adjourned until November the trial of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a popular opponent of President Tayyip Erdogan, as police stepped up security near the courthouse after protests in support of him were banned.
Imamoglu, who according to polls would be a serious challenger for Erdogan IF he was due to race in next year’s national eelectionsis accused of insulting public officials in a speech he gave about a new 2019 mayoral election which he won.
The the case, which has been adjourned to November 11, could result in a political ban for Imamoglu if found guilty.
All main roads leading to the courtwe,in the district of Kartal, on the Asian side of Istanbul, were cordoned off by hundreds of police. Several hundred people gathered nearby youo Express support for Imamoglu, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
“We came to support Mayor Ekrem. We have come to seek justice in this country,” said Istanbul Municipality employee Kemal Ercan.
“I think such massive security measures are taken to exert psychological pressure on citizens,” he said, referring to the police presence.
The outcome of Turkey’s 2023 presidential and parliamentary elections is considered to hinge on the ability of the CHP and other opposition parties to join forces against Erdogan and his Islamist-origin AK Party, which has ruled the country for two decades.
Most analysts expect CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to win the nomination to be the opposition presidential candidate.
The district governor the office said so had banned press releases and marches to protect public order, as many people would show up to express their support for Imamoglu, who took office as mayor in 2019 in a clash for Erdogan’s AKP.
(Reuters – Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg)