Turkish court upholds conviction of Istanbul opposition leader

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A Turkish appeals court on Tuesday confirmed a jail sentence given to the head of the main opposition party in Istanbul on a range of charges including “terrorist propaganda” and insulting the president.

Last year, Canan Kaftancioglu of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison on charges related mostly to tweets posted between 2012 and 2017.

The court in Istanbul on Tuesday upheld her jail sentence, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

A CHP source confirmed the ruling to AFP and said the party would apply to the supreme court of appeals within two weeks to seek to reverse it.

The top court is due to deliver a verdict within a year.

Kaftancioglu, a doctor by profession, played a key role in the shock victory of the CHP’s Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu in June last year.

It was first time President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP party had lost power in Turkey’s biggest city for 25 years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech in Ankara, on January 14, 2020. (AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech in Ankara, on January 14, 2020. (AFP)

Among the tweets used by the prosecution against Kaftancioglu was one in which she criticized the response to the failed 2016 coup against Erdogan.

She received sentences on five charges, including “humiliating” the state, insulting a public official, insulting the president and “inciting the people to hatred.”

Her “terrorist propaganda” charge, for which she was given 18 months, consisted of quoting a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting a bloody insurgency against the state since 1983.

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