Turkish prosecutors launch more than 7,500 cases for 'insulting' Erdoğan and state in 2022

Turkish authorities have launched 7,600 cases for “insulting” President Erdoğan, Turkish state, government or nation in 2022, Justice Ministry’s data showed.

Duvar English

Turkish prosecutors have launched 7,600 cases for “insulting” President Erdoğan, Turkish state, government or nation in 2022, the daily BirGün reported on April 9, citing data from the Justice Ministry.

The number of suspects in 7,600 cases was 7,712, who allegedly committed 8,071 “crimes.”

The cases were launched in accordance with Articles 299 and 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. Under the “Offences against the Symbols of State Sovereignty and the Reputation of its Organs” heading, Article 299 reads “Any person who insults the President of the Republic shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of one to four years.” On the other hand, Article 301 lays out the sentences for “Degrading Turkish Nation, State of Turkish Republic, the Organs and Institutions of the State.”

In 2022, the criminal courts convicted 1,872 cases over the charges in question, whereas they acquitted 2,226 people. The courts tried a total of 16,573 people in 2022 over these charges.

A tool commonly deployed by Ankara to reprimand critics of the government, insult charges often concern comments about the president.

In October 2021, the ECHR ruled that the crime of “insulting the president” was a violation of basic human rights and freedom of speech. It fined Turkey and told the country to change the law and pay recompense to those charged. 

Despite the ruling, the Turkish judiciary continues to sentence people over these charges to suppress the opposition.

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