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83-year-old prominent Turkish actor faces 5 years’ imprisonment on Erdoğan insult charges

Genco Erkal

The İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted an indictment requesting between one year, two months and four years, eight months’ imprisonment for prominent Turkish actor Genco Erkal, 83, on charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

According to the Turkish media, the investigation was based on a complaint submitted in 2016. The prosecutor claimed that Erkal insulted Erdoğan in three separate tweets. Erkal is expected to stand trial in İstanbul’s 16th Criminal Court of First Instance.

In a tweet on June 7, 2016 Erkal said: “Instead of meddling in the affairs of families and talking about having children or not, show us your diploma. Even if it was signed by a university president who’s your friend or even if it’s fake, let’s see it.”

Erdoğan is accused of not having a bachelor’s degree and submitting a fake university diploma instead to be eligible to run in presidential elections.

In another tweet on November 16, 2016, Erkal said: “The presidential system is not enough. Let’s have an a la Turca system.”

In his third tweet that is mentioned in the indictment Erkal said, “Oh, no! [Erdoğan] decided to destroy the beautiful Ayder plateau, a natural wonder. He transforms everything he touches into concrete.”

“These tweets cannot even be considered ‘heavy criticism’,” Erkal had earlier said in response to the accusations. “This is yet another example of the environment of fear that has been created to muzzle freedom of expression.”

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