Teacher faces two years in jail for shouting ‘There’s a thief’ at Erdoğan rally
ADANA – Doğan News Agency
After his shouts at Erdoğan's Adana rally on July 23, Ertan Altıncı was beaten by surrounding AKP supporters before being detained by the police. DHA PhotoProsecutors have demanded two years in jail for a man who shouted “There’s a thief” during a rally held by Prime Minister and President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the southern city of Adana last month.
Ertan Altıncı, a teacher by profession, was charged with “insulting a public officer” during a hearing on Aug. 19. The court, however, also lifted a travel ban that was previously imposed on him.
Altıncı shouted at Erdoğan from the front rows during a July 23 presidential campaign rally in Adana, using a slogan made popular by protesters following the corruption allegations against the government that emerged last December. In many demonstrations, the slogan is usually accompanied by a similar one, “There’s a murderer,” denouncing the deaths of young protesters in brutal police crackdowns that have been defended and praised by Erdoğan.
“There’s a thief. How will you account for the corruption? What was inside the trucks?” Altıncı also called out, referring to the Syria-bound trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Agency (MİT). It was alleged that weapons were found in the trucks during a search in Adana.
After his shouts, Altıncı was beaten by surrounding supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) before being detained by the police.
During the Aug. 19 hearing, he expressed his regret about the incident, adding that he was one of the thousands of teachers awaiting their assignment at the time. “I didn’t think that this would become such a big issue. I apologize to the prime minister,” he reportedly said.
In a similar incident, a protester who unfurled a banner with the same “there’s a thief” slogan during an Erdoğan rally in the neighboring province of Osmaniye in March was severely beaten by the prime minister’s bodyguards.
Meanwhile, in December 2013, a woman was briefly detained for protesting the prime minister by brandishing a shoebox on her balcony in the western province of Manisa, in reference to the money found stashed in shoeboxes during the corruption investigation.