More drama in Turkey: Authorities seize assets of main opposition CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate, Sarıgül

Turkish authorities seized the assets of Mustafa Sarıgül, candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for Istanbul mayoral post, an official said on Friday, ahead of a crucial local election due to take place in March.
 

The move coincides with heightened political tensions amid a far-reaching corruption scandal that has led to the detention of prominent businessmen as well as sons of former cabinet ministers close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Sarıgül will run against İstanbul’s incumbent mayor, Kadir Topbaş of Erdoğan’s center-right Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Polls suggest Topbaş, who has run Turkey’s largest city and business capital for about a decade, will beat Sarıgül, though the race may prove tight.

In his first comment on the seizure, Sarıgül questioned the timing of the move, claiming that the takeover is politically motivated and aims to disrupt his bid for İstanbul mayoral post.

“They will get their answer on March 30, the day of the local elections,” Sarıgül said, insisting that he has no debt to the bank, calling on TMSF officials to hand over the documents showing his debt.

 

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About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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