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Politics

Bakoyannis Among Mayors Expressing Support for Counterpart Imamoglu at Event in Istanbul

December 28, 2022

INSTABUL – Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis expressed his full support and solidarity for Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu while addressing the event “Cities: Democracy and Development” on Wednesday.

Held at the Istanbul City Hall in the afternoon, the event was devoted to how cities can collaborate on protecting democracy and the rule of law. It included the mayors of Florence, Hanover, and Paris along with the Eurocities European Network secretary general, while remarks were also expected to be conveyed through online connections with the mayors of Budapest, Hamburg, Linz, and Utrecht.

All mayors expressed their support for Imamoglu, who earlier in December was sentenced by a Turkish court to jail and stripped of his right to be a candidate and to vote, based on statements made in 2019. The popular Istanbul mayor is free pending an appeals court decision, while the sentencing was condemned both domestically and abroad.

Calling his Istanbul counterpart ‘a friend’ several times in his address, Bakoyannis underlined that mayors arrived in the city to show practical support for the mayor, “who represents democracy.” As the Athens mayor noted, Imamoglu’s court conviction “bears significant repercussions on Turkiye’s European prospects. To put it simply, if the mayor is censored today, then what would the outcome be in the future for Turkiye and its citizens – if the state of law does not rule? The democracy Ekrem supports is not a luxury – it is a need for growth and a condition for a better life. Ekrem’s political annihilation does not benefit anyone, but brings negative results.”

Bakoyannis underlined that the mayors’ stance “will be clear-cut, and our support absolute. We stand with democracy and the right side of history. I have full faith in Ekrem’s political stamina.”

On his part, the Istanbul mayor underlined that “a government that has lost its sense of justice, loses its reason of existence.”

Imamoglu thanked the mayors who expressed solidairty to him and the people of Istanbul in the context of the meeting. “In my face, the legislative attempt of a coup against the will of the people of Istanbul, who have not lost their sense of justice, saddens me. I thank all mayors who acted in solidarity with me and the people of Istanbul in the context of this meeting, which does not care who acts illegally against whom, but focuses only on whether what is happening is just, democratic, or not. I truly believe that democracy will win very quickly in Europe, in Turkey, and in Istanbul,” he stressed.

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