Prosecutors ask up to 10 years in jail for main opposition Istanbul chair after Erdoğan aide's complaint

Turkish prosecutors have sought up to 10.5 years in jail for CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu in a case concerning her support for a fellow CHP official who allegedly photographed Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun's property in Istanbul's Üsküdar district in April.

This collage photo shows main opposition CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu (L) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's aide Fahrettin Altun.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors have sought between nine months and 10.5 years in jail for Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the Istanbul provincial head of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), over charges brought by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's aide, media outlets reported on Dec. 14.

The prosecutors have accused Kaftancıoğlu of “instigating a crime” and “praising a crime and criminal” in a dispute concerning the illegal construction on the property of Fahrettin Altun, Erdoğan's communications director, in Istanbul's Üsküdar district.

The property rented by Altun in the Kuzguncuk neighborhood was early this year at the center of attention after daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 14 that the CHP-run Istanbul municipality demolished a pergola and fireplace that were illegally constructed on this land.

After the release of the report, an investigation was launched into CHP Üsküdar district head Suat Özçağdaş over allegations that he took photographs of Altun's house adjacent to the demolished illegal construction. Prosecutors have accused him of violating the “privacy of personal life.”

Afterwards, an investigation was also launched against Kaftancıoğlu as she defended the actions of Özçağdaş and the municipality. Kaftancıoğlu is facing charges of “instigating” Özçağdaş to take the photographs of Altun's house.

Kaftancıoğlu been credited as the person behind the CHP's municipal election victory in Istanbul in 2019. The CHP’s victory ended the 25 year-rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessor Welfare (“Refah”) Party in the megacity. 

In September of 2019, Kaftancıoğlu was sentenced to nine years and eight months in prison for old tweets that allegedly spread terrorist propaganda. The CHP has said the conviction is politically motivated and is a “revenge” for the AKP’s loss in Istanbul as the trial began shortly after Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s re-run win.

Kaftancıoğlu appealed the conviction and has not been imprisoned during this appeal process.