Turkish court hears case of columnist charged with Erdogan ‘insult’
A columnist for a Turkish newspaper appeared in an Istanbul court Tuesday charged with insulting the country's president. (Twitter)
A columnist for a Turkish newspaper appeared in an Istanbul court on Tuesday charged with “insulting” the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mumtazer Turkone, a journalist writing in the Zaman daily newspaper, attended the trial held at Istanbul's Bakirkoy 2nd Penal Court of First Instance with his lawyers.
He is accused of insulting Erdogan (then Turkey’s prime minister) in March 2014.
Turkone, in his defense letter, said his published remarks did not include insult and were a criticism of a speech by Erdogan delivered in the southeastern province of Gaziantep on March 14 last year.
The journalist had described the leader’s speech as "a political abuse over deaths."
The article criticized Erdogan and his political attitude, saying: "Erdogan has to be more evil and cruel to sustain his quaking ruling. He has no other way through..."
Published in Zaman newspaper and online, the article said Erdogan's "political interests and calculations" were growing like a shadow over the country's present and future.
Bakirkoy public prosecutor prepared an indictment against Turkone and said lawyers for the plaintiff Erdogan filed a complaint against the columnist for "insult via media." The indictment from Erdogan’s legal team calls for a one- to two-year jail sentence.
However, Judge Osman Burhaneddin Toprak delayed the hearing for "deficiencies" to be completed. No date has been fixed for a new hearing.