Eren Topuz / DUVAR
A total of 128,872 probes were launched in six years over "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with prosecutors having evaluated 36,066 complaints and launching criminal cases for 11,371 of them in just 2019.
According to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, "insulting" the president can result in between one and four years in prison. If the act is committed overtly, a one-sixth increase of the sentence is applied.
Some 903 minors between the ages of 12 and 17 stood trial over the said charges in six years, revealing the dire lack of freedom of expression in the country. Out of the said 903 minors, 264 are between the ages of 12 and 14.
Justice Ministry statistics showed that criminal cases were launched for 27,717 of the 128,872 probes in six years and a non-prosecution decision was given for 31,109 of them.
A total of 9,556 of the cases resulted in convictions and 2,676 were handed prison sentences, out of which seven are children, including one between the ages of 12 and 14. Some 4,325 individuals were acquitted.
Foreigners and legal entities were also among those sued, with charges usually being based on social media posts. A total of 234 foreigners and eight legal entities were sued and nine foreigners were handed prison terms.
While Erdoğan's tenure as president has been seeing a record number of "insulting" the president cases, the numbers are significantly lower before his term.
The Constitutional Court in 2016 rejected the proposal to annul the 299th Article, saying that it's necessary for "the protection of the public order and a democratic society."