Turkish Interior Minister says he can dismiss Istanbul Mayor if his verdict is finalized

Turkish Interior Minister says he can dismiss Istanbul Mayor if his verdict is finalized
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Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said he can depose Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu if his conviction was approved by the Supreme Court

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Sunday said that he had the right to dismiss Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu who was given a jail sentence by an Istanbul court last week and face a political ban if the verdict is finalized by the Supreme Court.

Soylu claimed he has a constitutional right to do so and explained the legal procedure in a televised interview in Turkey’s CNN Turk TV.

"The Constitution gives authority to the Interior Minister. If a person is prosecuted for a crime about his duty, the Interior Ministry has a right to dismiss him.”

Imamoglu was sentenced to over 2 years and 7 months in prison for insulting the members of an election board in a hearing last week where the court ruling also banned him from politics, a decision which needs to be finalized by the supreme court to be implemented.

Soylu said the law follows two different paths of jurisdiction depending on the crime being to related to terror or not.

“Here, there is no question of a terrorist-related process, so no trustee will be appointed. But. If the appeal and the Supreme Court approve the decision, I have the authority to dismiss him," Soylu said.

Imamoglu was tried over a speech after Istanbul elections when he said those who annulled the initial vote - in which he narrowly defeated a candidate from Erdogan's AK Party - were "fools". Imamoglu says that remark was a response to Suleyman Soylu for using the same language against him.

The chair of Turkey's Supreme Election Council (YSK) also said on Friday that in case Imamoglu runs for president in the upcoming elections and the ruling is upheld by the appeals court in the process, he shall not be inaugurated as president.