Former mayor campaigns for cousin with same name in Turkey’s local elections after banned from politics

Former mayor Murat Sesli, banned from politics due to involvement in a criminal case during his tenure as AKP’s mayor of a district in Zonguldak province, has nominated his cousin, also named Murat Sesli, as a candidate for the upcoming local elections and has begun campaigning on his behalf.

Sesli cousins pose with İYİ Party chair Meral Akşener.

Duvar English

Murat Sesli, who previously served as the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Mayor of Karadeniz Ereğli district in Zonguldak province, “returned” to politics despite being banned from conducting political activity due to his involvement in a criminal case.

Sesli made his cousin with the same name, Murat Sesli, nationalist opposition Good (İYİ) Party’s mayoral candidate for the same district and has been personally conducting the election campaign, according to the reporting of the online news outlet Kısa Dalga.

Sesli was arrested within the scope of an operation against gangs in his district in 2009, just after he was re-elected as mayor, first as an independent and then as an AKP member.  

In 2012, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for "gang membership and deprivation of liberty" and a 5-year ban on "election" after the end of his sentence. 

İYİ chair Meral Akşener announced Cousin Sesli’s candidacy at the party’s headquarters together with former mayor Sesli. While the İYİ’s district organization also announced the cousins “joint candidacy” together, the cousins also pose together in their propaganda posters.

The cousin, who was banned from politics, said, "Unfortunately, with a decision made shortly before the elections, they did not let me run. So my cousin and I decided to run for the elections together. We have no legal obstacles in front of us.”

Even though Sesli was banned from carrying out any political activity, he has been continuing to do propaganda by actively participating in public meetings, election office opening ceremonies, and rallies.

Turkey will held local elections on March 31.