Erdoğan’s Biggest Rival İmamoğlu Sentenced to Jail and Political Ban

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu was tried for insulting the members of the Supreme Election Board (YSK), demanding a prison sentence and a political ban.

The court board sentenced Ekrem İmamoğlu to 2 years 7 months and 15 days in prison and thus the political ban process began.

If the decision is upheld by the Appeal and Supreme Court, Ekrem İmamoğlu will be banned from politics. In his first statement after the sentence, İmamoğlu said, “A handful of people cannot take the authority given by the people. Our struggle starts stronger.”

The hearing, which started at 11.30 am at the Anadolu Court of Justice in Kartal, was held at the Anatolian 7th Criminal Court of First Instance. Many CHP and IYI Party members were also present at the hearing as spectators.

The prosecutor, repeating his opinion on the merits at the hearing, demanded the implementation of the maximum sentence of imprisonment (4 years and 1 month) for İmamoğlu and the implementation of Article 53 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which includes ‘political prohibition’. Rejecting the refusal of the judge’s request once again, the court adjourned the hearing at 13.15 until 16.00. The trial resumed at 16.08 after a 3-hour break. After the lawyers’ defenses, the court adjourned the hearing for 30 minutes to explain its decision.

Announcing its decision after the last break, the court board sentenced İmamoğlu to 2 years, 7 months and 15 days in prison. The court ruled that the 53rd article of the TPC, which includes a ‘political prohibition’, should also be applied to İmamoğlu.

In order for İmamoğlu to be banned from politics, the appeal and Supreme Court stages of the case must be completed. If the decision is finalized, the IMM Assembly will elect a new president instead of Imamoglu. Imamoglu will also not be able to participate in the 2023 and 2024 elections.

In his first statement after the sentence, İmamoğlu said, “A handful of people cannot take the authority given by the people. Our struggle is starting stronger, with Allah’s permission.”

Imamoglu, in a statement on his social media account after the break in the hearing, invited all Istanbulites to the city hall at 16.00, when the verdict of the case against which he was put on trial will be announced.

Imamoglu said, “Sarachane is the home of 16 million Istanbulites. Just as Istanbul and Turkey claimed their will before, they will do so today. Regardless of the decision, I invite everyone to Saraçhane at 16:00 to show either our joy or our will.”

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Saraçhane

The political ban decision on Imamoglu was announced to the citizens gathered in Saraçhane. The decision was protested by citizens booing. “Right, law, justice”, “Government resign” slogans were chanted.

Citizens gathered in Saraçhane upon the call of Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. Many political parties and professional organizations also supported İmamoğlu’s call.

Addressing the citizens, İmamoğlu said, “The main reason for our meeting here tonight is the great lawlessness we have experienced. Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called me and tomorrow we will be together with the leaders of the Six Tables at the house of the people of Istanbul.”

Imamoglu said:

“Of course, I wouldn’t want to experience that bad decision of the judiciary that brought us this shameful environment and invite you here. As soon as an environment where your decision was ignored became a habit, we would have played into the hands of those who made this country unsustainable. That’s why we invited you here. Proving that there is no justice. it is a case that governs the will of those who want to put a handful of people on the orbit they want. I wish this case was a civil lawsuit. Every decision they take is for their own benefit. A handful of people have also stopped fighting bravely and bravely. They resort to the unthinkable business to protect their own order. and the process of people enforcing transactions. This corrupt order actually started on the night of March 31, when they dared to close the data and take the election from us through Anadolu Agency. You slapped the slap, but they were not satisfied. Those who set out as ‘the nation’ that day say that we are the state today. They will not get results. If my hope this morning is one, my current hope is a thousand. They don’t block the road. Do you know for what? So that those who come here will be in a difficult situation. You can use your power in court to trouble us, but in vain. We have 2023 ideals. We succeeded in Istanbul, we will succeed in Turkey. It may have been 3.5 years, but I still have my youth. We still have high hopes”

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