Turkish authorities have filed a lawsuit against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a potential challenger to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accusing him of rigging a public tender while he was a mayor of the city’s Beylikduzu district, the broadcaster Haberturk reported on Wednesday.
The charge carries a possible jail sentence of up to seven years, Haberturk said, adding that a hearing was scheduled for June 15.
The case was opened after an Interior Ministry investigation into a tender for recruitment services that was held in 2015, Haberturk also said.
Imamoglu was sentenced last December to two years and seven months in prison and banned from politics for insulting public officials in 2019, when he criticized a decision to cancel the first round of municipal elections, in which he beat Erdogan’s AK Party, which had held power for 25 years.
He has appealed against that verdict, but his conviction has rallied the opposition bloc around what it sees as a fight for democracy, the rule of law and justice.
Critics say Turkey’s judiciary has been bent to Erdogan’s will to punish his critics. The government says the judges are independent.
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