Turkey’s opposition leader faces 10 year imprisonment on terror charges

The leading figure from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is facing almost 10 years in prison on terror charges.

Canan Kaftancioglu, 47, was sentenced Friday to nine years, eight months and 20 days in prison on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda, insulting the state, insulting the president, insulting public officials and provoking public enmity, according to the 37th High Criminal Court in Istanbul.

She is the CHP’s Istanbul provincial branch leader and played a key role in the opposition party’s victory in the June Istanbul municipal election over the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Social media posts

The charges against Kaftancioglu were raised based on several social media posts she made over the course of several years. They included tweets criticizing the government’s crackdown on 2013 Gezi Park protests and the killings of three Kurdish women activists affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Paris that same year.

The opposition leader in a public appearance rejected the charges as politically motivated by the government to target the opposition. Kaftancioglu said she would appeal the sentence, for which she had not yet been arrested.

We will not stop until the palace’s tutelage ends,” she said in the public speech in front of the court in Istanbul shortly after the sentencing, referring to the presidential palace housing Erdogan.

“No matter what it costs, we will not back off. For these reasons, it was a trial to punish a provincial head who aimed to give Istanbul to its people, and in fact, it was a trial to punish people,” she said in front of a large crowd of supporters.