Turkish actor fined in Erdoğan’s libel case
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyA Turkish actor has been fined 7,080 Turkish Liras for a piece he wrote, on the grounds that it defamed the then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, meanwhile acquitting him of the piece’s remarks about the son of Erdoğan, Bilal Erdoğan, and Saudi businessman Yasin El Kadı.
Lawyers of Bariş Atay, the actor under trial, said the piece did not intend to defame, reminding the court that Yasin El Kadı was on the list of terror financiers in many countries. However, the lawyer of complainants Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Bilal Erdoğan demanded punishment. Meanwhile, the lawyer of El Kadı refuted the financier claims in Atay’s piece saying Kadı was previously acquitted from the similar charges.
At the hearing, Atay voiced his disturbances about the current justice system.
“I am essentially known as a harsh criticizing journalist. So, I will speak in a soft tone as much as possible. In this respect, when I am watching TV at home as a citizen, I see the situation is in danger of turning into paranoia for the government and a witch-hunting for citizens. We will face specific restraints that belong to the Sultan Abdülhamid II era. Besides, I am disturbed by the functioning of justice system as a private court of a family. I have that impression when I look into the calendar of causes. I think I have the right to criticize as a press member and do not think it is a crime,” said Atay.
Last year, Atay wrote a piece for daily Birgün, entitled ‘Hey, leader of the government.’ The complaints came over the sentence, “[…]That is the hotel lobby where Bilal met with Yasin El Kadı, one of the biggest financiers of terror, to plan corruption.”