Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into independent deputy and prominent journalist Ahmet Şık over his remarks supporting weeks-long protests in Turkey against the appointment of a loyalist as the rector of Turkey’s elite Boğaziçi University by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The investigation into Şık was initiated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on charges of engaging in overt provocation to commit a crime due to his statements about the youth-driven protests, a statement from the prosecutor’s office said on Friday.
The statement said the investigation into Şık was launched following reports in the Turkish media suggesting that he called on the public to take to the streets, saying that the government would not leave power following an election.
In a statement he made at the İstanbul courthouse following the release of some of the protesting students from police custody, Şık criticized the unlawful arrest of the students, saying that nobody should be deceived by the illusion that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would leave power through elections because it does not recognize the law and acts like the mafia.
“Nobody can fight against the mafia by means of the judiciary. We cannot deal with their understanding of the law,” Şık said, calling on everyone to take action to end the “palace regime,” a reference to the rule of President and AKP leader Erdoğan.
More than 300 students and their supporters were detained in İstanbul and Ankara in increasingly violent and politically charged altercations with the police this week.
The appointment of the pro-government rector created a stir because students saw it as part of Erdoğan’s broader effort to centralize control over most facets of Turks’ daily lives.
Erdoğan compared the protesters to “terrorists” on Wednesday in one of his most heated attacks to date against a movement that threatens to grow into a serious challenge to his 18 years in power.