Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Eren Erdem was given 700 hours community service over allegedly insulting then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through media.
It was revealed on Turkish media that İstanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced Erdem to pay TL 7,000 for “insulting Erdoğan” through media in September 2013, which then turned into a prison sentence of 350 days.
The prison sentence was not appealed and became court’s final verdict on Jan. 27, 2014. The sentence was then turned into a 700 hours community service.
Erdem tweeted out on Monday that he was forced to disembark ahead of a flight as he was on a passenger plane at the İstanbul Atatürk Airport due to a prosecutor’s order, despite having no travel ban currently.
His previous tweet said that he had intended to travel abroad to spend the upcoming Eid al-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with his family, who are compelled to live abroad because of receiving “death threats.”
The CHP deputy recently made outstanding statements regarding the activities of the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Turkey. Erdem claimed that a magazine issued by Abu Hanzala, an alleged ISIS leader based in Turkey, was being distributed at public transport stops. Another assertion Erdem made was that ISIS was running at least five masjids in İstanbul.
According to a recent statement from Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Turkish prosecutors have opened nearly 2,000 cases against people for allegedly insulting Erdoğan since he was elected to presidency in August 2014.
Critics accuse Erdoğan of intolerance and say he is using the law to stifle dissent. Those who have faced trial for insulting Erdoğan include journalists, cartoonists, academics and even teenagers.