Writer to be tried on charges of insulting Turkish prime minister
Emrah Serbes had made a pun in a TV show by changing the prime minister’s middle name “Tayyip” to “Tazyik”, a word meaning pressurized water in reference to the police’s excessive use of water cannons and tear gas on the most recent May Day against peaceful protesters. Hürriyet photo
An Istanbul prosecutor has demanded the imprisonment of writer Emrah Serbes for from 10 months to 12 years, on accusations of insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu and Interior Minister Muammer Güler, daily Milliyet has reported.
Serbes had made a pun in a TV show by changing the prime minister’s middle name “Tayyip” to “Tazyik,” a word meaning pressurized water in reference to the police’s excessive use of water cannons and tear gas against protesters during the most recent May Day.
The Istanbul 18th Criminal Court of Peace approved the indictment and commenced proceedings in the case, the report said.
The investigation was launched after an anonymous e-mail was received by the Prime Ministry’s Communication Center (BİMER). The email alleged that Serbes’ words should be considered a crime under the law forbidding “insulting civil servants.”
Serbes said he had attended the May Day protests as a responsible citizen and as a writer.
A total of 14 tons of water mixed with tear gas was used during the police crackdown on demonstrators on May Day in Istanbul, daily Radikal published May 26, citing a lawyer who discovered the figure by using the freedom of information act.
Hundreds were injured in clashes between police and protesters during May Day celebrations, inflamed by a ban on entering the symbolic Taksim Square.