Bakoyannis, European mayors to show support for İmamoğlu in Istanbul

KOstas Bakoyannis Ekrem Imamoglu

Athens mayor Kostas Bakoyannis and his counterparts from Florence, Hanover and Paris will attend a meeting with Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on how cities can collaborate on protecting democracy and the rule of law.

Along with the four mayors, the Eurocities European Network secretary general will also speak at the event in Istanbul called "Cities: Democracy and Development". Remarks will also be conveyed through online connections with the mayors of Budapest, Hamburg, Linz, and Utrecht.

Mayors are expressing their support for İmamoğlu who earlier in December was sentenced by a Turkish court to jail and stripped of his right to be a candidate and to vote. He is free pending an appeals court decision, while the sentencing was condemned both domestically and abroad.

Bakoyannis travelled to Istanbul again in early November, to boost collaboration between the two cities and to help preparations for the first Balkan Cities Network Summit, scheduled in Athens in January 2023.

A Turkish court on December 14 sentenced İmamoğlu from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) 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 the mayor, a popular rival to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which must be confirmed by an appeals court before application.

The court process and the conviction also boosted İmamoğlu’s popularity. He has been mooted as a possible challenger and polls suggest he would defeat Erdoğan.

READ MORE: Istanbul mayor Imamoglu: What does he think of Cyprus?