Turkish prosecutors have filed an indictment against Ankara Bar Association executives over their criticism of homophobic statements made by Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş in April 2020.
The indictment demands a sentence of between one and two years for Ankara Bar Association head Erinç Sağkan and 11 board members on charges of “insulting a public official," Doğan news agency reported on June 16.
The indictment was submitted to the Ankara 3rd Heavy Penal Court after the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office obtained the Justice Ministry's permission for the lawyers to be put on trial.
On April 26, 2020, Erbaş targeted Turkey’s LGBT community and HIV-positive individuals during a sermon, claiming that “homosexuality causes diseases and decay to lineage.”
Following Erbaş's comments, the Ankara Bar Association released a statement saying that the top cleric's comments “came from ages ago” and were against human dignity.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended Erbaş and accused the bar association of attacking Islam. “An attack Erbaş is an attack on the state and on Islam...All will know their place," Erdoğan said on April 27, 2020.