Turkish prosecutors have indicted a journalist on charges of insulting a public official due to his remarks targeting the executives of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, also known as the Diyanet, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.
Journalist Fatih Altaylı is facing the insult charges based a criminal complaint filed by the directorate due to his comments about a question on the website of the directorate’s Religious Affairs Higher Council and the answer given by the council.
Altaylı is charged with insulting the council’s president, Professor Abdurrahman Haçkalı, and the 15 members of the council.
The question asked the Islamic view about adopting a child since many people are considering adoption following two powerful earthquakes in Turkey’s south in February that claimed more than 50,000 lives and left many children without families.
In response to the question, members of the directorate’s Religious Affairs Higher Council said adopting a child does not make marriage impossible between the adoptive parent and the child, according to Islam.
Altaylı harshly criticized the council’s answer on his X social media account, calling the council’s members “perverts” and advising them to get into the porn business. He asked them to give proper religious information to people.
The journalist said in his defense statement, which was included the indictment, that his remarks were within the limits of freedom of expression, denying the insult charges.
The indictment, accepted by an Ankara court, seeks a prison sentence of up to four years for the journalist under the Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
It is frequent for journalists in Turkey to face insult charges due to their criticism of public officials.
Turkey is ranked 165th in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2023 World Press Freedom Index, among 180 countries, not far from North Korea, which occupies the bottom of the list.