Turkish courts convicted 9,556 people on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the course of five years, an opposition lawmaker has revealed.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Mahir Başarır said that based on Justice Ministry data, 29,839 people stood trial on Erdoğan insult charges between 2014, when Erdoğan was first elected president, and 2019 and that 9,556 of these people were convicted.
A total of 1,279 people were tried on charges of insulting the president from 1994 to 2014, of whom 386 were convicted.
Başarır said the insult cases demonstrate efforts by Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to intimidate the public and opposition parties into not criticizing the government.
The insult cases generally originate from social media posts shared by Erdoğan opponents. The Turkish police and judiciary perceive even the most minor criticism of Erdoğan or his government as an insult.
Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime was committed through the mass media.