An Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance has released university student Ege Akersoy who is facing the “inciting the public to hatred and enmity” charge for punching a man who was carrying a “Tavheed” flag, often associated with jihadists.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office prepared an indictment into Akersoy, seeking one year and four months to four years in prison for him on the charges of “inciting the public to hatred and enmity” and “intentional injury,” according to reporting from Habertürk.
Akersoy punched a man carrying a “Tavheed” flag, associated with jihadists, who was returning from the Free Palestine march on Jan. 1. The flag represents the Islamic conception of monotheism and features the Islamic declaration of faith (Shahada). He was arrested on the same day.
In his first testimony, Akersoy had said that he was raised with nationalist values, and expected a Turkish citizen to carry the Turkish flag after it was censored by Saudi Arabian officials, referring to the diplomatic football crisis. “There was a quarrel between us. When he came closer to me, I punched him to protect myself. I should have warned him verbally,” he said.
An Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance released Akersoy, citing the possibility of changing the nature of the crime of “inciting the public to hatred and enmity.” The court also imposed an international travel ban on him.