Turkish police detain CHP youth branch members for Erdoğan graffiti

Turkish police have detained four members of the main opposition CHP’s local youth branch in the Aegean İzmir province for “insulting the President” with their graffiti depicting Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The court released the four party members with international travel bans. 

The CHP youth branch poses after welcoming members out of detention.

Duvar English

Turkish police on March 17 detained four members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) youth branch in Aegean İzmir province.

After a night in jail, an İzmir court issued international travel bans for the youth branch members for “insulting the President” and released them from custody. 

The graffiti depicted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the sentence, “I heard you were trying to turn into an İzmirite. Hamza, call me ASAP.” The graffiti targeted the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate for İzmir, Hamza Dağ. 

The stencil work reads, "Hamza, call me ASAP." Photo: Ege'de Sonsöz

Dağ has been criticized for concealing his affiliation with the AKP as he ran in the opposition stronghold. Dağ omitted the AKP logo from his campaign posters and presented a “tolerant” demeanor to the stereotypically secular İzmir voter.  

Okan Er, the head of the youth branch, said they did not know who made a criminal complaint about their graffiti. He added that plainclothes officers raided their office to detain them.

“The graffiti does not insult Hamza Dağ or the President, our intention was criticism,” said Er. He believed such guerilla campaigning was standard, and theirs were blown out of proportion.  

“Our best response will be given at the ballot,” he suggested. 

AKP’s Dağ will face off against Cemil Tugay from the CHP in the local elections on March 31. The metropolitan municipality has been run by CHP administrations since 2003.