Istanbul mayor under investigation: 'disrespectful' of Mohammed II

Ekrem Imamoglu is President Erdogan's main rival. The mayor allegedly disrespectful by walking near the deceased sultan's mausoleum with his hands behind his back. He is also under investigation for alleged contacts with members of the Kurdish HDP party.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Turkish authorities have opened an investigation against the mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu, one of the main rivals of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, among the few able to compete with him in terms of prestige and consensus.

Magistrates accuse him of having shown "disrespect" during a visit to the mausoleum of Sultan Mohammed II, which was held in May of last year.

The opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet, which revealed the story, reports that on that occasion the mayor would have walked with his hands behind his back (in the photo), while visiting the tomb of Sultan Gulbahar's wife.

The response of the entourage of the mayor of the economic and commercial capital of Turkey, who speaks of a "meaningless" procedure, is immediate. Spokesman Murat Ongün adds that Imamoglu has received a summons from the magistrates to "testify" on the matter.

The mayor is considered Erdogan's most accredited rival in the presidential elections scheduled for 2023. The attitude defined as "disrespectful" would emerge in a video relaunched online and shared by users, while he was in the cemetery of the Fatih mosque for the ceremony of the anniversary of the conquest of Constantinople. The video allegedly prompted the Public Goods Inspectorate to open an investigation and request an interrogation of the mayor of Istanbul.

Mohammed II, in Ottoman Mehmet II, also known as "the Conqueror" (1432-1481), was the seventh sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who came to power at 13 but effective ruler from 1451. He was responsible for the conquest of Constantinople (1453) at only 21 years of age, which had resisted the assaults of the Turks for decades. The fall of the city also marked the end of the Eastern Roman Empire after over a thousand years of existence.

Finally, opposition sources report that Imamoglu is also under investigation for some (alleged) meetings with members of the pro-Kurdish party HDP (People's Democratic Party), accused by Ankara of being the political arm of the PKK. In the aftermath of the failed 2016 coup, the party underwent a real campaign of repression, with the arrest of hundreds of leaders and leaders, including leader Selahattin Demirtas.