Mehmet Kılıç, a German politician originally from Turkey who previously served as a deputy in the Green party has been indicted by Ankara prosecutors for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during an interview, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday.
Kılıç’s remarks while speaking to ABC news in July 2017 led the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to charge him with insulting the president, which is defined as a crime under Turkish law.
The Heidelberg-based politician, who is a dual citizen, said he has not been to Turkey in nearly three years and became aware of the case only after his relatives in Turkey received a written notice from the court.
The first hearing will be held in Ankara in December. Kılıç said he has not decided whether or not to attend as he believes he might be detained if he goes to Turkey.
“This regime is trying to silence me,” he told the German dpa news agency, adding that he has not thus far heard of a German politician being prosecuted in Turkey.
The interview in 2017 included criticism about the Turkish government’s domestic and foreign policies.
“As a politician with Turkish origins, I feel great sorrow as I watch the current state of affairs in my home country, and I consider those responsible to be traitors,” he had told ABC. “The damage caused by Erdoğan in Turkey is irreparable.”
Kılıç’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, said Turks are being deprived of free speech despite the fact that in theory, the Turkish constitution allows a larger scope for criticism of the president than of normal citizens.
He noted the recent spike in insult-related cases in Turkey and described the situation as a crisis.