Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Affairs on Thursday dismissed a local mayor from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) after he was convicted of insulting the president, considered a crime under the law.
Hüseyin Sarı, the mayor of the Erdek district of Balıkesir province in western Turkey, was handed a sentence of 11 months, 20 days for insulting the president. The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in December 2018, but rather than imposing the prison sentence ruled for the deprivation of certain of his civil rights. Consequently, the mayor was dismissed from office by the ministry on Thursday.
The convicted mayor was running for re-election from the opposition in local elections of March 31. Thousands of people have been investigated for social media posts critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since insult of the head of state is designated as a crime under the Turkish Penal Code. However, the law has never been used as extensively as it has during the terms in office of the current president.