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(Bloomberg) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned an opposition candidate seen likely to beat his party’s nominee in municipal elections this month that running for office won’t shield him from potential legal action.
Erdogan said in a televised interview late on Monday that Mansur Yavas, jointly-backed by main opposition parties for mayor in Ankara, is facing criminal allegations and would have no immunity. Yavas is accused by a prosecutor of abusing his duty as a lawyer. He has denied the charge, describing it as an excuse to smear him before the vote.
Most pollsters see Yavas leading the race with a comfortable margin against the ruling party’s candidate in the capital, a former minister of environment and urbanization.
Yavas will “pay a serious price and make our fellow residents of Ankara to pay a price too, even if he can enter the elections,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan’s critics accuse him of intimidating opponents as he seeks to amass more power over the Middle East’s biggest economy. The government replaced dozens of elected mayors in recent years with so-called trustees, accusing them of having ties with terrorist groups.
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