A 63-year-old dentist from the western German city of Wuppertal faces up to four years in prison in Turkey for allegedly insulting the Turkish state, the German Bild daily reported on Tuesday.
According to the report the dentist, who was briefly detained in Turkey at the beginning of November, is now prohibited from leaving the country and is currently staying in a hotel awaiting a court date.
The dentist, who wanted to take a short vacation in Turkey and flew to the country on November 4, reportedly got into a dispute with other passengers at the baggage carousel at the Antalya airport and became abusive towards Turkey and its citizens.
“You Turks are just like that, it is not a democratic country here, anyway,” the dentist is said to have shouted, according to witnesses cited by Bild.
One of the travelers who recorded the incident in a video then reported the dentist to the authorities, saying he “insulted Turkey and the Turkish nation.”
The dentist, who was briefly detained over the allegations, is no longer allowed to return home and is waiting to appear before a judge.
Bild also reported that the Federal Foreign Office was aware of the case and that the man was being seen to by the German Consulate in Antalya.
“Publicly degrading the Turkish Nation, the State of the Turkish Republic, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Government of the Republic of Turkey, and the judicial bodies of the State” is a criminal offense according to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been criticized for the abusive enforcement of Article 301, under which thousands of dissidents including journalists, writers and lawyers have been prosecuted in the country.