Turkish Politician Faces 17 Years for Tweets Criticizing Government
Hundreds gathered at Istanbul’s main court on Friday to support an opposition politician, Canan Kaftancioglu, who faces 17 years in prison for a series of tweets criticizing the government.
Kaftancioglu, who heads the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s Istanbul branch, is accused of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish state in tweets posted between 2012 and 2017.
The supporters gathered outside the court chanted “Down with fascism” and held signs reading “We are thirsty for justice”.
CHP Istanbul Provincial Chair Dr. #CananKaftancıoğlu appeared before the court today for her social media posts.She is a true democracy and human rights defender and one of the major brains behind the Istanbul victory. A total badass! I ❤️ her #CananKaftancıoğluYalnızDeğildir pic.twitter.com/ImWezS3jqB
— Emel Akcali (@EmelAkcali777) June 28, 2019
Kaftancioglu’s tweets include an insult directed at Erdogan, and criticism of the death of a 14-year-old boy, who was hit by a tear gas grenade during the mass “Gezi Park” protests of 2013.
She is also accused of “terrorist propaganda” for quoting a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), which has been fighting a bloody insurgency against the state since 1983.
Her supporters say another tweet, in which she appeared to deny the Armenian genocide, was fake and had been created to smear her.
Istanbul court began hearing of Istanbul mayor @ekrem_imamoglu's campaign strategist @ccanannnnnn today on charges she insulted president, spread "terrorist" propaganda in her years-old social media posts. Party says trial adjourned until July 18 (sketch by Zeynep Özatalay) pic.twitter.com/vg9QdwuMiE
— Ayla Jean Yackley (@aylajean) June 28, 2019
“This trial, as everyone knows, is a political trial,” said a lawyer for the CHP outside the court.
“We are once again before the court for a case that is unjust, outside of the law and without any foundation.”
Kaftancioglu was a key figure in the campaign to elect Ekrem Imamoglu, the new CHP mayor of Istanbul — whose landslide victory this week marked the first significant defeat for Erdogan since he took power in 2003.
CHP #Istanbul chairwoman Canan Kaftancioglu is said to have led new city mayor Ekrem Imamoglu to his success in elections — this morning she’s on trial and faces prison over tweets from 6 years ago, which her lawyer say are faked… among other accusations https://t.co/gAtKj0gX4d
— Ayla Albayrak (@aylushka_a) June 28, 2019
There was little progress in the trial itself on Friday, with the case quickly adjourned until July 18.