Ali Al Deek, a Syrian wedding singer, has been investigated for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a local concert in Hatay province.
According to the Bold news portal, Deek was accused of criticizing Erdogan while praising Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in between his songs.
Turkish police reportedly prevented Deek’s return to Syria until the investigation is concluded. No evidence has reportedly been found that the singer insulted Erdogan in the concert videos.
At least 29,000 people have been investigated across Turkey for “insulting” President Erdogan, Turkish nation and government officials over social media posts since 2019.
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.