Islamist opposition mayoral candidate sacked from Istanbul stock market - Yeniçağ

The son of an opposition candidate in the June 23 rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election has been arbitrarily sacked from his position at the Istanbul Stock Exchange, Turkish nationalist daily Yeniçağ reported on Monday.

The Islamist Felicity Party announced its candidate Necdet Gökçınar would run again on June 23, after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) cancelled the March 31 results after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched an appeal.

Gökçınar’s son was dismissed from the stock market, where he had been working as an analyst’s assistant, after being told managers were happy with his performance but had received instructions “from Ankara” to end his employment, Yeniçağ reported.

In a statement published in relation to the incident, the Felicity Party said “workplace harassment and dismissals” of its members had been occurring “incessantly” in a number of institutions.

“It is obvious that this was a political decision”, the statement said of the sacking. “But neither this nor similar decisions will divert the Felicity Party from its course”.

The party was part of an opposition electoral alliance including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and nationalist Good Party in presidential and parliamentary elections last year.

The Felicity Party was not formally a part of the alliance in the March 31 local elections this year, but the Islamists party’s candidates are thought to have competed for votes from the AKP’s conservative voter base where they ran.

The Istanbul mayoral election, which CHP candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won by a slim margin, was cancelled after the AKP objected to what it said were widespread irregularities.

However, the YSK’s decision, which was based on regulations that were not enforced in the elections last year or the other ballots cast on March 31, has proven hugely controversial. Felicity Party leader tweeted that the ruling would be remembered as a “black stain” on the YSK.

With just 13,000 votes separating İmamoğlu from the AKP’s candidate, former prime minister Binali Yıldırım, the Felicity Party, whose candidate won over 100,000 votes on March 31, could prove to be a crucial actor in the rerun.