Turkish prosecutors prepare indictment against CHP Ankara mayor hopeful Yavaş

Turkish prosecutors have prepared on indictment against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Ankara mayoral candidate Mansur Yavaş over claims the politician abused his powers while acting as an arbitrator in a legal dispute, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

The indictment follows a complaint by businessman Necmettin Keskin, who has an ongoing disagreement with Mansur over the collection of a $600,000 cheque, Cumhuriyet said.

The disagreement between Yavaş and Keskin began when industrial minerals company SAMAŞ took sugar company Kayseri Şeker to court over outstanding debt. SAMAŞ asked Keskin for financial assistance and Keskin asked Yavaş for support with the case that was ongoing in the Supreme Court of Appeals. SAMAŞ provided Keskin with a $600,000 cheque as compensation for his financial aid to the company during the trial.

SAMAŞ and Keskin fell into dispute after the exchange and Yavaş acted as an intermediary, keeping the cheque until the deal was finalised, Cumhuriyet said.

A court in Ankara accepted the indictment prepared by Keskin’s lawyers and Yavaş will have 10 days to respond with a written defence, it said.

The Ankara mayor hopeful has said he will release a statement on the matter on Tuesday.

Yavaş is also the candidate supported by the centre-right conservative Good (İYİ) Party, which is in an electoral alliance with the CHP, in the March 31 local elections.

This is 63-year-old Yavaş’s second attempt at becoming mayor of Turkey’s capital after he came within one percentage point of winning in the 2014 Ankara mayoral race.

Mansur Yavaş leads the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate, Mehmet Özhaseki, 41.7 percent to 35.7 percent in Ankara, according to an opinion poll by PIAR, taken in early February.