Turkey sacks governor after husband criticises  Kavala verdict

Turkish Interior Ministry has sacked one of the country’s few female governors, after her husband criticised an Istanbul court’s ruling to jail philanthropist Osman Kavala for life, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

Funda Kocabıyık was sacked as governor of western Uşak province, it said, citing state-run Anadolu news agency, adding that no reason was given for the decision.

The Istanbul court on Monday found Kavala guilty of attempting to overthrow the government by financing Gezi Park protests in 2013 and convicted the human rights defender to jail for life, without parole. It also sentenced seven others in the case to 18 years in prison, for aiding the attempt.

“Judges and prosecutors of illegal decisions are rendering us unable to defend whatever sacred values we dedicate our lives to. These decision makers are actually destroying everything we have accomplished in the past,” Hüseyin Kocabıyık, the governor’s husband said via Twitter on Tuesday.

Kocabıyık was a former deputy for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) from western Izmir province.

Kocabıyık is serving as an independent board member at Katmerciler, an Izmir-based defence and automotive company, known for its armoured water cannons for riot control which were used against Gezi Park protesters, according to Bloomberg.

Istanbul’s symbolic Gezi Park landmarked the biggest demonstrations in 2013 against AKP since it came to power. The protests in 2013 began as a small sit-in in Gezi Park in Taksim square against the proposed destruction of one of Istanbul’s few remaining green spaces to make way for a shopping mall but spread across the country after police violently dispersed the protestors. Eleven people were killed and more than 8,000 injured in the ensuing violence.

Kavala who was convicted by financing the protests, had spent four and a half years behind bars without a conviction ahead of Monday’s hearing. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered his release citing lack of evidence and a breach to his rights to freedom.

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