Huge support on the streets of Istanbul this weekend for Turkish opposition's Canan Kaftancioglu

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul in support of the leading opposition figure, Canan Kaftancioglu, the BBC reports.

Kaftancioglu, who heads the secular Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul branch, smiled and waved to the cheering crowds.

She has received a criminal conviction for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish state, and now faces a suspended prison sentence.Under Turkish law, sentences of under five years are usually suspended.

Some of the charges relate to messages published on Twitter up to 10 years ago, many relating to 2013 anti-government protests and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Kaftancioglu has repeatedly said the charges are politically motivated.

She was involved in the CHP's triumph in Istanbul's mayoral election in 2019, defeating President Erdogan's governing AK party.

President Erdogan has faced accusations from the West and human rights groups for his crackdown on the judiciary and other state bodies after a failed coup in 2016, and is currently being scrutinised by the west following threats to derail Finnish and Swedish accession to NATO.

Image: Par Hilmi Hacaloğlu — Cette image a été extraite d'un autre fichier, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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