Turkish Medical Association president fined over 'insulting' Erdoğan tweet

An Istanbul court on Feb. 16 imposed an administrative fine of 7,080 liras on Turkish Medical Association (TTB) president Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur over accusations that she insulted Erdoğan in a tweet in 2013. “They are now penniless, so monetary fines are more important for them [than prison sentences],” Korur said following the court's decision.

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur is seen in this file photo.

Duvar English

The president of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur, has been given an administrative fine of 7,080 liras (approximately $1,000) on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through a tweet in 2013, when Erdoğan was prime minister.

During the final hearing of the case on Feb. 16 at Istanbul's Anatolian 42nd Criminal Court of First Instance, Korur said that her tweet, which had criticized Erdoğan over his stance on the 2013 Gezi Park protests, had no elements of “insult,” but rather presented “facts.”

“People were hit by tear gas cartridges. Just a couple of days before that, the then-prime minister had said, 'I was the one who gave the orders, our police wrote a legend.' The police's duty is not to injure, kill or blind. That is why I request my acquittal,” Korur said.

After Korur was found "guilty" for her tweet, she said: “They are now penniless, so monetary fines are more important for them [than prison sentences]. They are now trying to collect money instead of placing us in jails.”

The indictment prepared by the prosecutors had been seeking a prison sentence of between 14-28 months for Korur for her tweet.

On May 31, 2013, police forcefully evicted environmentalists from Istanbul's Gezi Park who had staged a peaceful sit-in for several days to try to stop government plans to raze the green space and build a shopping mall.

Angered by the use of violence, tens of thousands of people from a variety of political backgrounds descended on Gezi and occupied Taksim Square for about two weeks before authorities finally cleared the space. Many complained of what they saw as growing authoritarianism after Erdoğan’s decade in office.