CHP’s İmamoğlu blasts disinformation campaign against him, refers to Pelican group

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayoral candidate on Wednesday blasted a government official and pro-government media for a disinformation campaign against him and referred to a group known as a parallel organisation in the government.

“There are now people in this society who think they are climbing the political ladder by marring someone, this is very sad… This must come to an end. They have marred the name of a bird by naming an organisation after it. The pelican is a beautiful bird,’’ opposition newspaper Sözü quoted Ekrem İmamoğlu as saying, in an apparent reference to the Pelican group.

The Pelican group is believed to be a parallel organisation within ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ranks known for pushing its own interest. It is blamed by many in Turkey, including supporters of the AKP, for voiding the legitimate election results in Istanbul.

İmamoğlu is on a campaign ahead of the Istanbul mayoral revote on June 23. His victory by a narrow margin on March 31 against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate was annulled by the Supreme Election Council (YSK) following an appeal by the AKP.

An interview with İmamoğlu on Monday pro-government Habertürk was edited by an AKP official and İmamoğlu appeared to say he wanted to govern Turkey with terrorist organisations. The altered video was shared by hundreds of pro-government accounts.

A video of the CHP candidate in an argument with a young employee in Istanbul over his HaberTürk interview was featured by pro-government newspapers such as Takvim and Sabah, who said the CHP candidate had been aggressive and slapped the young man.

Turkish Interior Minister Soylu earlier this week said that Imamoğlu had been ‘’irritable’’ as of late and also accused him of slapping the young man in question.

"Some people may have visual impairment. I recommend that he sees a doctor,’’ İmamoğlu said referring to Soylu.