Turgut Oker, a Turkish-German dual-citizen who was convicted of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saw his prison sentence commuted to a fine following a court decision in Istanbul on Thursday.
Oker was initially sentenced to 11 months and 20 days. The prison sentence was commuted to a fine of 7,000 Turkish lira ($1,020; €911) and the ban on leaving the country was lifted.
«I made this critique in his face. How is this humanity, what kind of belief is this? How can you make murderers who burned people alive imams in mosques? How can you keep quiet about this? I made this criticism to his face, for people sharing this belief, who remained silent. We have told everyone to their face about the life-consuming problems of Alevis in Turkey,» explained Oker, who is the chairman of the European Alevi Union.
The Alevi are members of Alevism, a heterodox Islamic tradition whose followers believe in the teachings of Ali, a son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and the Twelve Imams, seen as successors of the Islamic prophet in Shia Islam.