İstanbul mayor faces investigation for ‘disrespecting’ Mehmed the Conqueror

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Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on allegations he was disrespectful by clasping his hands behind his back during a visit to the tomb of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror last year, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

Municipal spokesperson Murat Ongun as well as the country’s Interior Ministry confirmed the reports about the investigation into İmamoğlu.

İmamoğlu, who attended a ceremony marking the 567th anniversary of the conquest of İstanbul by Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, known as Mehmed the Conqueror, last year, allegedly disrespected Mehmed II’s memory because he stood with his hands clasped behind his back while visiting his tomb in the Fatih district of İstanbul.

Cumhuriyet journalist Barış Pehlivan, who was the first to reveal the investigation into İmamoğlu, wrote about it in his column in Cumhuriyet on Tuesday under the headline, “İmamoğlu’s hands stand accused.”

Pehlivan said it was hard to believe that İmamoğlu was facing an investigation on such an accusation.

The İstanbul mayor, who ended the years-long rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections of 2019, is frequently the target of judicial harassment.

In March, he was ordered by a court to pay a fine of TL 7,080 ($930) for insulting a former governor in the Black Sea province of Ordu. İmamoğlu denied the charges and described the case as politically motivated.

The AKP, which launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens following a failed coup in 2016, is accused of taking the country’s judiciary under its control and giving orders to judges and prosecutors to punish its opponents and critics.

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