Turkish journalist Altaylı gets jail sentence for ‘insulting’ ultras group leader

A Turkish court has sentenced renowned journalist Fatih Altaylı to seven months in prison over “insulting” the leader of UltrAslan, ultras supporter group of Galatasaray football club. Altaylı can appeal against the sentence.

Duvar English

An Istanbul court has handed down a seven-month prison sentence to renowned journalist Fatih Altaylı over “insulting” Muzaffer Şirin, the leader of Galatasaray football club’s ultras supporter group.

The Istanbul 22nd Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced Altaylı to seven months in prison for “repeatedly insulting” the leader of the UltrAslan group, and did not defer the sentence due to Altaylı’s “record” of repeatedly committing the same offense.

However, Altaylı can appeal against the sentence in the appeals court, online news outlet T24 reported on Jan. 3.

The indictment included Altaylı’s several remarks regarding Şirin, such as “dark figure who hang out with religious cult leaders,” “always known for traveling with mafia thugs and kissing the hands of religious cult leaders... a Nazi leftover,” and “they're a bunch of tramps, I don't mean the fans, I mean the people in charge.”

“The reason for the remarks in question is because I see attitudes and behaviors that do not suit fan leadership. I (said these) to criticize him because I saw his photos on his social media accounts with Sedat Peker, who is currently on trial for being the leader of a criminal organization, and I also saw his photos with sect leaders, and I could not reconcile these images with sports,” Altaylı said in his testimony.

On the other hand, an investigation has been launched into Altaylı over “praising crime and criminal” for writing “thank you” to Ege Akersoy who punched a man carrying the "Tawheed" (Tevhid) flag, often associated with jihadists, on Jan. 1, the same day the Free Palestine march was held, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.