Top Turkish business group chair says political ban has no place in democracies

Turkey's leading TÜSİAD business association chair Orhan Turan has criticized the political ban sentence imposed on Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu. Turan noted political bans “have no place in a democratic society."

Duvar English

The president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), Orhan Turan, said that political bans have no place in a democratic society.

Turan’s remarks came after a political ban imposed on Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). 

“Unfortunately, the political ban, which we have witnessed many times in our past, has come to the fore again. It should have no place in a modern democratic society that politicians, who are elected by popular vote, are prevented from the right to perform their duties and be elected because of their statements,” Turan told Nasıl Bir Ekonomi in an interview.

A Turkish court on Dec. 14 sentenced İmamoğlu, a popular rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to two years and seven months in prison on charges of “insulting” 11 members of Turkey's High Election Board (YSK). The court also imposed a political ban on İmamoğlu, which must be confirmed by an appeals court before application.

Turan said lowering inflation should be the first priority for the government.

Turan also said minimum wage should be adjusted to prevent employees from being crushed by inflation. On the other hand, Turan noted, as long as the increase in inflation cannot be stopped, purchasing power of employees decreases which makes the increase in minimum wage insignificant.

In November, the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported an annual inflation rate of 84.39, whereas the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 170.70 percent.