A Turkish court on Tuesday handed down a one-year suspended sentence to Aret Demirci, a German citizen of Turkish origin and an employee of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Turkey, for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.
Demirci had posted a tweet criticizing the Turkish media for not covering opposition party rallies before the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections.
He used the term “başçalan” (thief-in-chief) in the tweet, a reference that has been used by opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to describe President Erdoğan.
Although Demirci had deleted his tweet and insisted that he was targeting the Turkish media, he was still tried on charges of insult.
A total of 26,115 people were investigated on allegations of insulting the Turkish president in 2018, a 30 percent increase over the previous year.
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.