A leading Turkish opposition figure has been banned from politics and sentenced to almost five years in prison, drawing widespread concern about a crackdown on leftwing organisers and politicians before elections expected within the year.
An Istanbul appeals court on Thursday confirmed three charges against Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the head of the Istanbul branch of the main opposition Republican People’s party (CHP), upholding her convictions for insulting a public official, publicly insulting the republic of Turkey, and insulting the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in tweets accusing him of theft.
She faces a ban on political activity and a prison sentence of four years, 11 months and 20 days. While she could receive a suspended sentence, observers fear that banning the key opposition leader from politics is intended to sideline her before presidential and parliamentary elections.
Polls indicate that Erdoğan and his Justice and Development party (AKP)…