A dispute erupted on May 25 between Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and a shopkeeper. The altercation occurred during the mayor's visit to a market in Istanbul's Bayrampaşa district when the shopkeeper accused İmamoğlu of "collaborating with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)."
When İmamoğlu responded to the shopkeeper who shouted at him over the counter, the argument grew. The parties accused each other of "rudeness and immorality."
In the footage taken by the bystanders, the shopkeeper got into the police vehicle and left the market after a while. Making a statement about the incident, Istanbul's Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said, "There is no detention order against the citizen regarding the incident in question. His statement was taken as a complainant due to his application to the police station."
According to the state-run Anadolu Agency, İmamoğlu also filed a complaint through his lawyer against the shopkeeper.
İmamoğlu then told what happened between him and shopkeepers at a rally he organized in the district and said, “Why are you pitting this nation against each other? How is it possible to slander a person, to tell people a lie as if it were the truth? You can protest against someone, you can be angry with someone, you may not accept their services. However, who are you to call someone a terrorist, a PKK member, a traitor?"
İmamoğlu referred to the shopkeeper as “a poor deluded wretch” and added, “the ones who deceived him are the real sinners.”
During the election campaign, the ruling People’s Alliance executives and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have accused the opposition of “collaborating with the terrorist organizations and their political affiliations” in order to gain more votes in the elections. Main opposition bloc’s presidential candidate Kılıçdaroğlu and the CHP figures have denied such claims on several occasions.
Erdoğan even circulated a montaged video showing the PKK members singing Kılıçdaroğlu’s election campaign song and later said, “It doesn't matter if it's a montage or not.”