Duvar English

Journalist Ender İmrek appeared in court on June 24 in the case that he is accused of “insulting” First Lady Emine Erdoğan “by not attributing nice qualities to her” in a piece that he criticized her for using an expensive Hermes handbag.

Daily Evrensel columnist İmrek faces the said accusation over a column published on June 29, 2019 titled “The Hermes handbag was shining bright.”

İmrek criticized Erdoğan for using the bag that cost $50,000 when people in the country are suffering from increased unemployment and poverty.

The price of the bag corresponded to 144 minimum wages when she was using it in 2019.

“A Hermes handbag worth $50,000 is a subject of criticism when millions of people are poor, unemployed and hungry and when millions are trying to continue their lives with a minimum wage that’s below the hunger threshold,” İmrek told the court in Istanbul.

“It’s a duty of a journalist to write about the situation of the president’s family, who are among the world’s richest,” he added.

Saying that there are no insults in his column, İmrek noted that the accusation of “insulting Emine Erdoğan by not attributing nice qualities to her” was made up by the prosecutor.

“This is a crime that doesn’t exist. According to the indictment, not praising Emine Erdoğan is equal to insulting her,” he said.

The next hearing of the case will be held on Oct. 8.