Iconic Turkish actor, 80-year-old Metin Akpınar, testified in court on Dec. 23 in Istanbul, against charges of insulting the president that he is facing for comments he made during a 2018 program on TV.
Akpınar, along with Turkish theater actor Müjdat Gezen, is facing up to four years in prison for comments on Halk TV, known for their criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
"I talked about art on the show. I also spoke about democracy and the steps that lead us to democracy. I didn't say anything addressed to the president, or anything targeted at him," Akpınar said during the hearing.
While Gezen's lawyer said he was unable to attend the trial due to back problems, Turkish columnist and radio host Nihat Sırdar criticized the fact that Akpınar was forced to attend the hearing.
"To hell with your system that forces Metin Akpınar to go to the courthouse at 80-years-old," Sırdar said in a tweet on Dec. 23.
Pandemide 80 yaşında Metin Akpınar’ı adliyelere getiren düzeniniz batsın. pic.twitter.com/QXVqQQoMJn— Nihat Sırdar (@nihatsirdar) December 23, 2020
Insulting the president is a criminal charge that many critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan face, even for statements that may not have clearly offensive content.