Prosecutor dismisses complaint against former EU minister on charges of insulting Islam
Former European Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış delivers a speech during a parliamentary debate on corruption allegations against him along with three other former ministers in Ankara, on May 5, 2014. AA PhotoThe Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has dismissed a complaint filed against former EU Minister Egemen Bağış on charges of “openly insulting Islam.”
Remarks allegedly delivered by Bağış during a wiretapped telephone conversation were subject to a complaint from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal.
In the leaked phone conversation with a journalist, Bağış allegedly joked about the Quran, saying that he “threw out” verses from the Quran every Friday.
The leak of the conversation was part of a series of audio recordings leaked through social media in the aftermath of the huge corruption probe that opened on Dec. 17, 2013.
The dismissal decision from the prosecutor’s office was based on the fact that the wiretap recording did not come as a result of a legal eavesdropping operation.
The prosecutor also ruled that the accused “insult” could only be punished if the act was “in public” and aimed at “abolishing public order.” As the conversation took place between two persons privately, it did not qualify as being “in public,” according to the prosecutor.