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Governor recalled to Ankara after husband criticizes AKP over Kavala conviction

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A governor in western Turkey was recalled to Ankara after her husband criticized the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the recent conviction of philanthropist Osman Kavala, local media reported on Wednesday.

The reappointment of Uşak Governor Funda Karabıyık to a desk job at the Interior Ministry came after Hüseyin Karabıyık, a former lawmaker from the AKP and husband of the governor, slammed the ruling party’s influence on the judiciary and “unjust” convictions by “cruel” judges and prosecutors, referring to the recent conviction of Kavala, without mentioning his name.

“Judges and prosecutors of unlawful decisions make us unable to defend whatever sacred value we dedicate our lives to. These decision-makers are actually destroying everything we’ve accomplished in the past. The authority that can stop this destruction is obvious, and we ask for its help,” Karabıyık said in a tweet late Tuesday.

An İstanbul court earlier this week sentenced businessman and philanthropist Kavala, 64, a leading figure in Turkey’s civil society who was accused of financing large-scale protests against the government in 2013 to aggravated life in prison on charges of “attempting to topple the government.”

The life sentence handed down to Kavala on controversial charges that had already seen him locked up without a conviction for more than four years has sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community, attracting condemnation and anger from prominent figures within and without the country.

Turkey disbarred more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors immediately after an abortive military coup in July 2016 over alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement, which it accused of orchestrating the attempted putsch. The movement denies any involvement.

The mass disbarment of members of the judiciary is believed by many to have had a chilling effect on the entire judicial system, intimidating the remaining judges and prosecutors into doing the government’s bidding by launching politically motivated investigations into critics and handing down sentences on controversial charges.

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