A Turkish appeals court has approved the acquittal of 78-year-old “Peace Mother” Hayriye Türkekul who was on trial for “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” during a 2019 demonstration in southeastern Diyarbakır province.
The prosecutor sought a prison sentence between one to four years for Türkekul, according to reporting by the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) of Turkey.
The prosecutor’s office in Diyarbakır had previously launched an investigation into Türkekul for “insulting” Erdoğan during a 2019 sit-in protest to bring attention to the prisoners on hunger strike demanding the end of the isolation imposed on the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Türkekul’s three children were among the prisoners on hunger strike, and she shouted “God damn you Erdoğan, God damn you all. You kill all of them, and you rejoice. Erdoğan did it all, Erdoğan did,” in front of the police barricades, according to the 2022 indictment prepared by the prosecutor’s office.
The court also accepted the request from President Erdoğan’s attorney to be included in the lawsuit. The prosecutor’s office claimed that Türkekul “insulted Erdoğan in a way that offended his honor and dignity.”
A Diyarbakır court ruled that Türkekul’s words were considered a “curse” and did not constitute an insult, and acquitted the senior citizen.
The presiding prosecutor and Erdoğan’s attorneys applied to the appeals court regarding the decision. However, after the Feb. 6 earthquakes, Erdoğan withdrew all criminal complaints in all “insulting the President” cases opened against individuals in the affected area.
The appeals court on Dec. 7 ruled to drop the appeals application made by Erdoğan’s attorneys. The court stated that the initial local court’s acquittal was lawful.