Turkish court acquits academician Cenk Yiğiter sued for calling dean 'cappuccino'

An Ankara court has acquitted academician Cenk Yiğiter after he was sued by Muharrem Özen, the dean of Ankara University’s Faculty of Law, for calling him "cappuccino" in a Tweet. The court however imposed a monetary fine on the academician for another Tweet which was considered a “threat.”

Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR 

Academician Cenk Yiğiter, who was expelled from the Faculty of Law of Ankara University with a statutory decree, had referred to Faculty Dean Muharrem Özen as “cappuccino” on his Twitter account on the anniversary of his dismissal. He also said “I know what you did,” referring to purported unlawful acts the dean committed.

Following this post, Özen filed a criminal complaint against Yiğiter. While an Ankara court did not deem the “cappuccino” remark as being criminal, it fined Yiğiter for “conveying a threat,” through his post “I know what you did.”

Cenk Yiğiter said he had called Özen “cappuccino” as it was a “nickname that was given to Özen by his students at the Eastern Mediterranean University.” “In that sense, I don’t think my tweet contains any insulting elements,” Yiğiter said.

One of Yiğiter’s lawyers, İlke Işık, stated that his client “had made those tweets in order to express his resentment towards his professors as he was unfairly dismissed from the academic corps,” and that the “tweets by no means qualified as threats or insults.”

Yiğiter’s lawyers referred to the “Dickinson vs. Turkey” court decision by the European Court of Human Rights and emphasized that criticism based on satire ought to be treated with more tolerance.

They also added that freedom of expression had been breached and Yiğiter appealed to the Constitutional Court on those grounds.

Regarding Muharrem Özen, Cenk Yiğiter said: “He was one of the great liquidators of Ankara University during the state of emergency which was a scandal and unconstitutional. During his tenure, a huge Grey Wolves banner was hung from the roof of the Law Faculty and members of that movement perpetrated many acts of violence.”

He added that a “law student who had posed with a gun in front of the Law Faculty had not faced any penalties” and that this student “had even become an assistant at the Political Science Department.”