Main opposition Istanbul chair fined for insulting interior minister

A Turkish court has ordered the Istanbul chairwoman of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to pay a fine for insulting the interior minister in a social media post, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.

An Ankara court ordered CHP’s Canan Kaftancıoğlu to pay a fine of 10,620 liras ($582) to Süleyman Soylu over social media posts in May 2021 on grounds that the opposition figure insulted the government official, it said. The posts in question occurred while Soylu appeared  live on a Habertürk TV broadcast.

A popular opposition figure who is widely credited with leading the CHP into victory in the 2019 local elections, Kaftancıoğlu is an outspoken critic of the Turkish government.

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals in May approved a prison sentence of four years and 11 months against Kaftancıoğlu, on three different charges, including insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and conducting terror propaganda. On May 31, the 50-year-old was jailed and released on probation the same day.

The court ruling prevents Kaftancıoğlu from running in the elections scheduled for next year over a ban from politics, but the official continues to play a key role for the CHP, whose leader has dismissed the rulings against her as being outside of the scope of the law and vowed to keep her in the party.

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