ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that courts would correct any mistakes in the appeals process after Istanbul’s opposition mayor was jailed, and meanwhile Turks had no right to ignore legal rulings.
In his first direct comments on Wednesday’s sentencing of Ekrem Imamoglu – Erdogan’s potential challenger who was sentenced to two years and seven months in prison and a political ban – Erdogan said he did not care whether Who is the candidate of the opposition in next year’s elections?
Imamoglu was prosecuted for insulting public officials in 2019 after he criticized Erdogan’s decision to cancel the first round of municipal elections won by the AK Party against the incumbent government of 25 years.
Erdogan said, “There is no final court decision yet. The case will go to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal.” “If the courts have made a mistake, it will be fixed. They are trying to drag us into this game.”
Imamoglu’s conviction has rallied the opposition bloc in what it sees as fighting for democracy, the rule of law and justice. Thousands have gathered at rallies led by Imamoglu, who has said he plans to appeal his sentence.
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“There have been court decisions that we have strongly criticized, but this does not give anyone the right to disrespect judges or ignore court decisions,” Erdogan said at a rally in Mardin, in Turkey’s southeast. “
Critics say Turkey’s judiciary has succumbed to Erdogan’s desire to punish his critics. The government says they are free.
(Reporting by Azra Seelan; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by John Stonestreet and David Holmes)
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