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Social media user gets 12-year prison sentence for insulting Turkish president

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A court in the southeastern city of Van has handed down a 12-year prison sentence to a man for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his social media posts, according to the T24 news website.

“It must be a record,” Cihat Durmaz, the lawyer for defendant Burhan Solak, said. “All of these social media posts are within the limits of freedom of expression.”

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 significant rise in the number of cases in which people inform on others claiming that they insulted the president, the government or government officials.

One of Solak’s posts was a criticism of former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

“Even though [Davutoğlu] is in the post of prime minister, he is actually a puppet controlled by Erdoğan,” the post cited in the indictment said.

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