Journalist probed for alleged insult of Erdoğan overheard at airport 9 months ago

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Former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı. (Photo: Today's Zaman)

An İstanbul prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into former Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanlı based on a complaint from a man who alleged that Dumanlı insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an airport nine months ago.

According to the Cihan news agency, İzzet Koyuncu filed a complaint against Dumanlı, alleging that he heard Dumanlı insulting the president in the CIP Lounge of İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport on June 3 of last year. Bakırköy Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Kadir Yılmaz has launched an investigation based on the complaint.

Dumanlı responded to the claims on Twitter on Thursday. “A lunatic whom I never saw before claimed that I insulted someone in the CIP Lounge of Turkish Airlines (THY) nine months ago. It is not difficult for them to learn that I did not fly with THY on that date. What is weird is that the prosecutor took it seriously and launched a probe. See where the law is!” Dumanlı tweeted.

Cases of “insulting” Erdoğan are based on Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which states that anyone convicted of insulting the president should serve a prison term of between one and four years. More than 1,800 cases have been started against people accused of insulting Erdoğan since he came to office in 2014, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ recently announced. Those who have gone on trial include celebrities, journalists, activists and even schoolchildren.

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