Turkish opposition figure stands trial over 'critical' Erdogan tweets

Turkish opposition figure stands trial over 'critical' Erdogan tweets
2 min read
18 July, 2019
A Turkish opposition figure is standing trial for a number of tweets deemed critical of the government.
Kaftancioglu is standing trial for tweets she sent [Getty]

A leading Turkish opposition figure stood trial on Thursday, where she defended charges of "making terror propaganda", in a case her supporters have described as "revenge" for her party's success in Istanbul elections.

Canan Kaftancioglu, who leads the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)'s Istanbul branch, is accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish state in tweets between 2012 and 2017.

She is also accused of making "terror propaganda" for Kurdish militants.

Kaftancioglu was a key figure in the success of Ekrem Imamoglu, who was elected mayor of Istanbul last month in a re-run of the vote first held in March, which he also wo

Her Istanbul trial began a few days after Imamoglu's second win against Erdogan's AKP.

"This trial is intended to punish (me) for having fought to give Istanbul back to the people," she told AFP after the hearing.

"I will not back down, I will keep fighting. This has been an unlawful process from the start.... The AKP and the government are trying to shape our politics with the hand of the judiciary."

During the hearing, the prosecutor demanded up to 17 years in jail for Kaftancioglu.

The claims against Kaftancioglu are that one of her tweets included an insult directed at Erdogan, and criticism of a teenager's death after being hit by a tear gas cannister during mass anti-government protests in 2013.

Another accusation levelled at her is that she made "terrorist propaganda" by quoting a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Muharrem Erkek, deputy CHP chairman, dismissed the trial as "political", which has been adjourned until 6 September.