Belgian foreign minister shares with Istanbul mayor concern over his conviction sentence
Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib offered her support this Friday 16 December to the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu. He is a political opponent of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and got sentenced this week to more than two years in prison for calling members of Turkey’s supreme election council “fools” three years ago. Lahbib met with İmamoğlu, today and considered his prison sentence "disproportionate".
Their meeting had been planned for a long time and took on a new dimension after Imamoglu's conviction sentence on Wednesday. Lahbib expressed Thursday in Ankara her concern during a meeting with the Turkish Foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. "And today to the mayor himself", added the Belgian minister.
İmamoğlu, who could run for the presidential elections next June, has announced that he wants to appeal his conviction. He did not attend any trial hearings or the sentencing and remains until further notice mayor of the largest city in Turkey.
In an interview with Belga News Agency, he expressed being confident about the outcome of the procedure. "It's not a difficult situation. We've solved a lot of problems in the past, and we're going to solve this one too," he declared.
Belgian Foreign minister Hadja Lahbib and Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday 16 December 2022. © BELGA PHOTO (VIRGINIE LEFOUR)