Turkish prosecutor files summary of proceedings against top CHP official for ‘insulting Erdoğan’
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
CİHAN photoA Turkish prosecutor has filed a summary of proceedings against Republican People’s Party (CHP) Secretary-General Gürsel Tekin for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a Jan. 15 press briefing in which he strongly criticized the detentions of academics who signed a petition calling for an end to military operations in southeast Turkey.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office drafted a summary of proceedings against Tekin on the basis of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which states: “A person who defames the president of the Republic [of Turkey] shall be imprisoned for a term of one to four years and the penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one-sixth if the offence is committed publicly and by one-third if it is committed by way of the press and media.”
The prosecutor’s office sent the summary to the Justice Ministry for transfer to parliament, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 1, noting Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın had filed a complaint with the office on Jan. 19.
The summary of proceedings claimed Tekin’s speech constituted a crime by “insulting the president” and submitted it to the discretion of parliament, which could lift Tekin’s immunity to permit proceedings.
Tekin read a statement issued by the CHP’s party assembly on Jan. 15, whereby he defined the detention of the academics “a new dark stain on Turkish democracy,” which followed Erdoğan’s remarks “regarded as orders” by the judiciary and some universities.
“We, as the CHP Party Assembly, find these operations targeting freedom of expression of thought and an independent judiciary, which are only seen in undemocratic regimes, as very dangerous and unacceptable,” the statement said.
“As the CHP, we recognize and defend the freedom of expression of thought as one of fundamental principles of democracy. We are standing with our citizens who use this right as long as they do not promote violence,” it added.
The statement followed news that 12 academics from Kocaeli University who signed the petition were detained for allegedly violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which states it is illegal to insult the Turkish nation, the state of the Turkish Republic or the Grand Assembly of Turkey and the state’s judicial institutions.