Erdoğan says İmamoğlu cannot become mayor without apology for insulting AKP governor

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said the secularist main opposition party's Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu cannot assume the post of mayor of Istanbul if he does not apologise to a governor whom he allegedly insulted, BBC Turkish reported.

The governor’s office of Turkey’s Black Sea coastal town of Ordu filed a legal complaint against İmamoğlu, who narrowly declared victory on March 31 polls in Istanbul, over what it said took place when the politician attempted to use VIP lounge at airport on early June.

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) governor of Ordu province Seddar Yavuz said İmamoğlu had insulted him and called him a dog when an argument broke out after the opposition politicians were prevented from using a VIP lounge at the local airport.

"Such a person does not deserve this candidacy unless he first apologises to the Ordu governor and our nation. (If not) he cannot assume such a post,” Erdoğan said at an event in Istanbul, according to BBC Turkish.

İmamoğlu denied that he insulted the governor, stating he merely underlined the governor's "vulgarity" during the argument.

Electoral authorities first declared İmamoğlu had won the March 31 vote to elect a new mayor of the city of some 16 million, but after Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist party alleged ballot irregularities, ordered the polls be held again on June 23. Losing control of the municipality would be a major blow to Erdoğan’s prestige.