Arrest warrant has been issued for exiled journalist Hayko Bagdat for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Media reported March 30 that a Turkish court issued the warrant since Bagdat failed to show up for his trial over a column he wrote back in 2015.

Bagdat, in his column, claimed that Erdogan targeted journalists with his words such as “traitors,” and “collaborator of foreigners.”

Bagdat currently lives in self-exile in Berlin as hundreds of his colleagues have been jailed in Turkey very recently.

“Due to some assassination rumors, I have been living under heavy protection in Germany,” Bagdat told media.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime is committed through the mass media.

A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016.

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