Turkey: Huge rally for opposition's Canan Kaftancioglu

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Watch: Thousands gather at a rally in Istanbul for Turkey opposition politician

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Turkey's largest city of Istanbul in support of the leading opposition figure, Canan Kaftancioglu.

Kaftancioglu, who heads the secular Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul branch, smiled and waved to the cheering crowds.

She has received a criminal conviction for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish state.

The 50 year old now faces a suspended prison sentence.

Some of the charges relate to messages published on Twitter 10 years ago.

Image source, Getty Images
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Canan Kaftancioglu has said the charges against her are politically motivated
Image source, Getty Images
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During Saturday's rally protesters unfolded a giant poster of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - the founder of the modern secular Turkish state

Kaftancioglu has repeatedly said the charges are politically motivated.

She was involved in the CHP's triumph in Istanbul's mayoral election in 2019, defeating President Erdogan's governing AK party.

President Erdogan has faced accusations from the West and human rights groups for his crackdown on the judiciary and other state bodies after a failed coup in 2016.

In 2019, Kaftancioglu was sentenced to nine years, eight months and 20 days in prison.

After an appeal the term was reduced to just under five years.

Under Turkish law, sentences of under five years are usually suspended.

Kaftancioglu was accused of "insulting" President Erdogan and the Turkish state in the posts, as well as "spreading terror propaganda".

The charges related to 2013 anti-government protests and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).