Islamic preacher Hasan Akar arrested for ‘insulting Atatürk’ 43 days after warrant
ISTANBULHasan Akar, an Islamic preacher who has been charged for posting videos online insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, has been arrested by an Istanbul court, 43 days after his arrest warrant was issued.
Prosecutor Ertuğrul Sarıyar had issued the warrant on May 11, demanding up to 7.5 years of jail time, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Akar on charges of “insulting the memory of Atatürk” and “inciting hatred and hostility among the public” due to his comments about Atatürk’s mother. He surrendered himself to the Bakırköy courthouse on June 20.
Akar had also claimed “Atatürk was an illegitimate child” in his online videos, triggering an angry reaction among many Turks.
An indictment had previously been prepared for two historians, Mustafa Armağan and Süleyman Yeşilyurt, over their comments about Atatürk on a TV program.
On May 31, the Bakırköy Chief Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges against Armağan, the editor-in-chief of “Derin Tarih” (Deep History) for “insulting the memory of Atatürk” in an article in the May issue of the magazine. The indictment filed against him sought from 1.5 to 4.5 years of jail time.
Armağan denied he had insulted Atatürk’s memory, indicating he had included quotes from books and newspaper interviews in his article series. The May issue in question included an essay on “Latife Hanım,” Atatürk’s wife from 1923 to 1925.
An investigation was also launched into 68-year-old Süleyman Yeşilyurt by the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, after the historian had claimed in a TV broadcast that one of Atatürk’s foster children, Afet İnan, was actually his illegitimate wife.
Yeşilyurt, who was arrested on May 12 for “insulting” Atatürk on the program, was released by the Istanbul court on June 1, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.