Turkey seizes assets of opposition party`s Istanbul candidate
Istanbul: Turkish authorities seized the assets of main opposition Republican People`s Party`s candidate for mayor of Istanbul in the run-up to highly-charged local polls in March, media reports said Saturday.
Turkey`s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund announced the decision late Friday after Mustafa Sarigul and nine other creditors failed to repay a loan worth $3.5 million (2.6 million euros) dating back to 1998, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.
In his first remarks after the decision, Sarigul described the move as a provocation.
"This incident is nothing more than the panic-stricken manipulation of state institutions for politics," he was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.
The move comes as the Turkish government is embroiled in a vast corruption scandal ensnaring top businessmen as well as sons of former cabinet ministers.
Sarigul is seen as the main rival of incumbent Kadir Topbas, a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who has been nominated to stand for a third term at the helm of Turkey`s largest city in the March 30 vote.
Although the AKP`s image has been badly bruised by the corruption scandal, recent voter surveys show support for Topbas at up to 45 percent.