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Turkish columnist turns self in to serve prison sentence for insulting Erdoğan

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A Turkish columnist who was assaulted last month in front of his apartment turned himself in on Thursday to serve a nearly one-year jail sentence for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Yavuz Selim Demirağ, 61, published a column in Yeniçağ, a secular nationalist daily, bidding his readers farewell before going to jail.

Turkey has jailed more than 200 journalists since a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Demirağ was one of five journalists who were assaulted for their reporting in May. The four assailants were released pending trial.

He was accused of insulting Erdoğan in a speech he gave four years ago in İzmir.

Hundreds of people in Turkey, even high school students, face charges of insulting President Erdoğan.

The slightest criticism is considered insult, and there has been a rise in the number of cases in which people inform on others claiming that they insulted the president, the government or government officials.

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