Court acquits protesters for chanting ‘Erdoğan murderer’
İsmail Saymaz ISTANBUL – Radikal
DAILY NEWS PhotoA local court has acquitted two protesters who had been prosecuted for shouting “Erdoğan murderer” during last year’s Gezi protests in the Aegean city of Aydın.
During his verdict delivered on June 30, the judge stated that both demonstrators, Cem Türkoğlu and Zafer Kasap, chanted the slogan targeting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in reaction to the police crackdowns on protests in Istanbul and elsewhere. She also stated that there was “enough of a factual basis” to justify the chant.
“There was a widely accepted perception that people died or were injured as a result of the disproportionate use of violence by the police. The suspects chanted the slogan with the conviction that the killings were caused by the disproportionate use of violence by the police,” said the judge, Fethiye Bilici.
Both Türkoğlu and Kasap were prosecuted after attending a demonstration in Aydın on June 6, 2013, two days after the death of a second protester, Abdullah Cömert, during a police crackdown in the southern city of Antalya.
In his verdict, Judge Bilici also argued that a prime minister should be able to face criticism, even if it is “shocking or hurting.”
“Even if it’s accepted that ‘Murderer Erdoğan’ is an impolite and provocative [slogan], it was related to the Gezi protests and there is enough of a factual basis for such a slogan to be chanted by large crowds,” Bilici said.
Türkoğlu, along with another protester, had been fined for chanting the same slogan at two other demonstrations in a trial overseen by different judge at the same courthouse.
Bilici has previously acquitted protesters for chanting the same slogan during a protest in Aydın denouncing impunity regarding the Roboski (Uludere) Massacre, in which 34 civilians died during an airstrike carried out by Turkish military jets.
Six young protesters died during crackdowns directly connected to the Gezi protests – Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Abdullah Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Ahmet Atakan and 15-year-old Berkin Elvan. Gezi protesters also voiced their support for Medeni Yıldırım who was shot during a protest against the building of a new police post in Diyarbakır’s Lice district in June 2013, and Hasan Ferit Gedik, who was killed in a clash between gangs and leftist groups in Istanbul’s Gülsuyu neighborhood last September.