Turkish prosecutors seek up to 8 years for opposition mayor over 'Erdoğan insult'

Turkish prosecutors seek up to 8 years and 2 months in jail for an opposition mayor from the CHP on charges of “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through social media posts. Mayor Halil Arda denies the charges and says that the social account in question does not belong to him.

Duvar English 

Turkey prosecutors have demanded a jail term for the mayor of the Aegean province of İzmir’s Gaziemir district on charges of “insulting the President in a continuous way” through social media posts.   

The last hearing of the case was held on Sept. 22 at the İzmir 34th Criminal Court of First Instance, according to reporting by state-run Anadolu Agency.

The mayor was not present at the hearing but her lawyer told the court that such a Facebook account does not exist and that her client denies the charges.

In their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”), the prosecutors demanded up to 8 years and 2 months in prison for Arda.

The court board postponed the trial to Dec. 20 for the mayor’s lawyer to present a defense.

A tool commonly deployed by Ankara to reprimand critics of the government, insult charges often concern comments about the president, although citizens have been accused of insulting the government's values as well. 

The European Court of Human Rights said last year the law on insulting the president, under which thousands have been prosecuted, should be changed.