13 May 2022
The SI strongly denounces the sentencing of Ms. Canan Kaftancıoğlu, Chair of Istanbul’s branch of the Republican People’s Party, CHP, a full member party of the Socialist International, to almost five years in prison and a ban on any further political work for a series of tweets she made during the mayoral political campaign in Istanbul in 2019. The CHP candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu, won those elections, taking the post from the AKP, the party of president Erdogan, which had held the mayoral position for the previous 25 years.
Originally sentenced to ten years in prison after campaigning on behalf of the CHP, an appeal at the Court of Cassation has now reduced the sentence to four years and eleven months and she has been charged with ‘insulting a public official’, ‘openly degrading the state of the Republic of Turkey’ and ‘insulting the president’.
The Socialist International condemns the Turkish government’s attempt to silence the opposition in this way by fabricating such charges, as well as the entire trial process which has been unlawful and which goes against Canan Kaftancıoğlu’s fundamental human right to free speech.
It is utterly unacceptable that the government is attempting to remove Canan Kaftancıoğlu from her political responsibilities, and it sets a grave precedent for the future of other opposition figures. The Socialist International has previously highlighted the mounting democratic erosion of Erdogan’s government and now reiterates that the Turkish president must abide by and uphold the universal rules of law and democracy.
The SI calls for the immediate annulment of the charges against Canan Kaftancıoğlu and will continue to closely monitor her case and political developments in Turkey. The government’s actions reflect the growing strength of the opposition, and the Socialist International stands with the will of the Turkish people who are demanding a fair, democratic and just society, where all human rights and freedoms are protected.