Istanbul mayor sues ruling party MP over identity theft case

Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is suing a member of parliament from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who publicly shared his identification number on social media, independent news site Artı Gerçek reported.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor says it resulted in unknown individuals using the information to open gambling accounts in his name.

Every citizen of Turkey is issued with a unique 11-digit identification number that is used in a wide range of public and private applications.

İmamoğlu has filed a criminal complaint against AKP deputy Serkan Bayram, a lawyer by profession, for sharing on Twitter a legal filing the mayor issued against him over a previous dispute. Bayram shared the document on May 20 without concealing İmamoğlu’s identification number. The post was still on Bayram’s Twitter account as of 11:00 a.m. (GMT) on Monday.

The Istanbul mayor’s legal complaint against Bayram said that gambling accounts were opened using his identification number after the AKP deputy shared his personal information online. İmamoğlu is seeking 50,000 liras ($9,012) in compensation over the issue.

Bayram’s lawyer has responded that the identification number had already been shared online by İmamoğlu himself and was freely available online before May 20.

The two politicians have previously sparred over a social media post in which Bayram accused the CHP mayor of attending what he said was a terrorist’s funeral. It was the filing for İmamoğlu’s defamation case against the AKP deputy over that issue that Bayram shared on May 20.

The funeral in question was for Dicle Deli, a 17-year-old girl who was one of 109 people killed in the 2015 bombing attack that struck a left-wing peace march in Ankara on October 10, 2015.

Bayram referred to it as a terrorist’s funeral because Deli’s coffin was draped in the red, gold and green that appear on the flag of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a militant group that is listed by Ankara as a terrorist organisation. The same colours, as well as white, also appear on the Kurdistan flag.

Ekrem İmamoğlu was a little-known mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district before coming to prominence as the opposition’s candidate for the crucial mayor’s seat in Istanbul. After winning the March 31 vote by a small margin, İmamoğlu became a target for politicians from the AKP, which successfully pushed for a rerun of the vote. İmamoğlu won the June 23 repeat election, extending his margin of victory to more than 800,000.