The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul Provincial Chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu’s party membership was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office after her 4 years prison sentence was upheld by the upper court in May.
Main opposition’s popular politician Kaftancıoğlu was sentenced to 9 years in 2019 for 5 different charges on her social media posts. Following the appeal process, the top court upheld 3 of the charges, sentencing her to four years in prison and a political ban.
As her sentence includes a political ban, the Public Prosecutor’s Office issued an official letter stripping of the CHP Istanbul Chair’s party membership on May 14.
“Continue to serve as de facto chairperson”
CHP Deputy Chairman Oğuz Kaan Salıcı issued a written statement following the decision, stating that the main opposition regards “the letter of the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor politically null and void.”
“Canan Kaftancıoğlu is a loyal member of our party, a combat veteran and our elected provincial president, and she will continue to serve as the de facto provincial chair,” he said in the statement.
CHP’s 39 district heads also published a joint statement, announcing that they recognize Kaftancıoğlu as their chair.
Canan Kaftancıoğlu, posted a statement on her social media account after the decision, defying the ruling.
“The CHP is a party that was founded not in law offices, but on the battlefields,” she said.
Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, also published a message of support for Kaftancıoğlu. Sharing on his social media account, İmamoğlu wrote, “Our friendship with Canan Kaftancıoğlu will continue in our struggle for a democratic and just Turkey.”
Investigation due to social media posts
A lawsuit was filed against CHP Istanbul Provincial Chairman in May 2019 for her social media posts between 2021 and 2017, and in September 2019, she was sentenced to 9 years, 8 months and 20 days in prison for 5 different crimes. Completing the appeal review on 13 May, the 3rd Penal Chamber of the Court of Cassation upheld the prison sentence of 4 years 11 months and 20 days for Kaftancıoğlu on charges of “insulting a public official”, “publicly insulting the State of the Republic of Turkey” and “insulting the President of the Republic”. It was decided to impose a political ban on Kaftancıoğlu.
“We do not recognize the political ban decision, we do not recognize the court. Canan Kaftancıoğlu is our Istanbul Provincial President. Period,” CHP Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in a statement after the Supreme Court decision.
Kaftancıoğlu went to Silivri Prison on 31 May for the execution of the sentence and surrendered. She was released the same day after the probation procedures.