Erdoğan’s lawyer applies to media watchdog over actors’ comments
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Veteran journalist Uğur Dündar (L) hosts actors Metin Akpınar (C) and Müjdat Gezen for a live broadcast at Kadıköy district municipality building in Istanbul on Dec. 21.
A lawyer of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan applied to the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) on Dec. 25, demanding that broadcaster Halk TV be fined for “not acting in line with the law” during a program in which actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen made comments on “fascism,” which led to prosecutors launching a probe into them.
In the application submitted to the watchdog, the lawyer, Hüseyin Aydın, said “the comments of Gezen and Akpınar mounted to insult and that the actors directly targeted President Erdoğan.” The president accused both actors of threatening him “with death and a coup explicitly.”
Aydın demanded an administrative fine not less than 10,000 Turkish Liras and halting the broadcastings of Halk TV up to five times in accordance with article 8 of law number 6112, which oversees the Foundation and Broadcasting Services of Radios and Televisions, titled “Principles of Broadcasting Services.”
Actors Metin Akpınar, 77, and Müjdat Gezen, 75, were hosted by journalist Uğur Dündar on his program on Halk TV Dec. 21.
“I believe that the only solution for us to get rid of this polarization and fights is democracy. If we can’t reach that point, then perhaps the leader will be hanged from his feet like it happened in all other fascisms of the past, or he will be poisoned in a dungeon or live the end of all the other [similar] leaders, but it will be ultimately our own destruction,” Akpınar had said in the program.
He had added that all Turkish leaders who “turned toward Russia” in the past were ousted by the military, naming former prime ministers Adnan Menderes and Süleyman Demirel as examples.
Gezen, on the other hand, had directly criticized Erdoğan during the program. “He is rebuking everyone, he is pointing his finger at everybody, he tells people ‘to know your limits.’ Look, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, you cannot test our patriotism. You should know your limit,” he had said.
In response, Erdoğan strongly criticized the two actors during a public speech on Dec. 23. “They say they will take me to the gallows. These are so-called artists. You think you can hang the president of this country? Now go and pay your price at the judiciary,” he said.
Hours after Erdoğan’s statement, the Istanbul Anadolu Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the two actors on charges of “insulting the president” and “threatening him with coup and death.”
Both actors were later released after the court ruled for a ban on overseas travel among other judicial control measures.
Meanwhile, Gezen’s lawyer Celal Ülgen said they would file a criminal complaint against prosecutors who initiated the relevant investigation on Dec. 25. “I do not know whether or not we’ll get a result but we’ll use our legal rights,” said Ülgen.