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Journalist will go to prison for insulting Erdoğan, former ministers: report

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A local Turkish journalist will start serving a prison sentence on Thursday on three convictions of insulting the president and two former ministers following a controversial decision by a court to merge the sentences for each conviction, thus denying him the possibility of probation, the Serbestiyet news website reported on Wednesday. 

Kadir Koç, a local journalist, will serve the sentences for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, former finance minister Nurettin Nebati and former interior minister Süleyman Soylu.

The act deemed an “insult” of former minister Nebati involves an imitation broadcast on YouTube.

Koç announced that he would be imprisoned following the merger of the execution of sentences that stem from three separate convictions: a one-year, 11-month sentence, an 11-month 20-day sentence and an eight-month sentence. These were imposed on him for alleged insults of former ministers Soylu and Nebati and President Erdoğan, respectively. When handled separately, the files would have qualified for probation, but the combination results in at least a two-year prison term.

Koç plans to surrender to the prison on Thursday, Serbestiyet reported. Previously, referring to a visit by former interior minister Soylu to Silivri Prison, Koç stated that “the criminal eventually returns to the scene of the crime,” which led to his conviction on insult charges.

Addressing the situation Koç tweeted, “I thought about leaving the country, but I will face this bravely so they won’t say I ran away.”

In Turkey thousands of people are investigated, prosecuted or convicted of insult charges against the president, which 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.

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