A court in Antalya has imprisoned a Turkish woman on charges of “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan while protesting the government’s inefficacy in fighting wildfires that have swept through swathes of the southern coast for the past 10 days.
According to the Turkish media, the woman, identified with initials Y.T., was charged with insulting the president as well as pro-gov’t Manavgat Mayor Şükrü Sözen.
Huge wildfires have been ravaging Turkey in multiple spots near the country’s southern and southwestern coastal holiday resorts since July 28, with no signs of abating. So far the wildfires have claimed nine lives, killing hundreds of farm animals and damaging houses and fields.
At least 29,000 people have been investigated across Turkey for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish nation and government officials over social media posts since 2019, Halk TV reported.
Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president or a government official can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime was committed through the mass media.
The slightest criticism of Erdoğan is often considered an insult, and there has been a rise in the number of cases in Turkey in which people inform on others claiming that they insulted the president, the government or government officials.