Retired teacher arrested over ‘insulting Erdoğan’ on social media

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Sevim Ö., an 67-year-old retired teacher, was arrested in Şarköy district of the northwestern Tekirdağ province over allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on social media.

The teacher was sent to court after being questioned at the Şarköy District Police Department. She was find guilty of insulting Erdoğan although she apologized for her social media posts.

“I am remorseful for my posts. I did not know they constituted a crime. I am sorry,” the teacher said to defend herself at the court.

Yılmaz B., another person living in Şarköy who was detained for allegedly insulting the president, were released pending trial on Friday.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, and it could go up if the crime is committed through the mass media.

According to a recent statement from Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Turkish prosecutors have opened nearly 2,000 cases against people for 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.

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