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article imageTrial resumes of Turkey opposition politician

By AFP     Jul 18, 2019 in World

An opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday rejected the charges against her during a trial described by her defenders as "revenge" for the opposition's success in Istanbul.

Canan Kaftancioglu, who leads the secular Republican People's Party (CHP)'s Istanbul branch, is accused of insulting Erdogan and the Turkish state in tweets posted between 2012 and 2017 as well as making terror propaganda for Kurdish militants.

She 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 after winning the first time in March.

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," she added, as hundreds of supporters gathered outside Istanbul's main court.

They chanted "rights, law and justice" with some supporters wearing T-shirts with her face and held posters with phrases such as: "They want to punish us for our victory."

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 14-year-old boy's death after he was hit by a tear gas grenade 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).

The PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Muharrem Erkek, deputy CHP chairman, dismissed the trial as "political".

The case was adjourned until September 6.

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