Six arrested over ‘social media insults’ on eve of Turkey elections
Turkish authorities have arrested six people for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of a campaign rally by his main electoral opponent on June 23.
Prosecutors in the Aegean province of İzmir had launched an investigation after social media footage showed a group of supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), allegedly insulting Erdoğan while "consuming alcohol" before attending an election rally held by presidential runner and Erdoğan's main rival Muharrem İnce.
İnce held a massive election rally in Izmir on June 21, just days ahead of the landmark, snap June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Police units identified six people after examining CCTV footage of an amusement center in Alsancak, near the rally site, where the incident took place, the agency reported.
At the İzmir courthouse on June 23, the court "remanded them in custody" on charges of insulting the Turkish president.
Police continue to search for other suspects.
Over 2,000 lawsuits over insulting Erdoğan
Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison. Erdoğan has filed close to 2,000 lawsuits against citizens, including school children, for insulting him.
As what he said was a goodwill gesture, he dropped the cases following a failed military coup in 2016.
But many more cases have been filed since then.