Gülizar Biçer Karaca, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP for Denizli, has prepared a report on charges pressed for “insulting the President” in Turkey.
According to the report, a total of 38,581 people were indicted for insulting the President from 2014 to 2020, the last six years of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidency.
The figure for the previous five presidents, in the 20 years from 1994 to 2014, was only 1816, MA reports.
People are prosecuted under Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which addresses the offence of “insulting the President”.
Talking about the report, Gülizar Biçer Karaca said:
“It is clear that they are using the Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code to keep themselves free of any criticism, and that they are maintain authoritarian policies by putting pressure on citizens.”
The CHP MP’s report also calculates that during Erdoğan’s term, the number of prosecutions has increased by 2,052 percent.
In 2020 alone, of 9,773 people prosecuted for this offence, 3,655 were convicted, while in 2019, of 13,990 prosecuted 4,291 were convicted.
The previous president Abdullah Gül was also, like Erdoğan , from the Justice and Development Party (AKP). During his presidency the number of defendants prosecuted for this offence increased by 420 percent from the previous period, the report noted.
Kenan Evren, the leader of the 1980 military coup, who was president for nine years between 1980 and 1989, prosecuted 340 people for insulting the president during his time in power, whereas Evren’s successors, Turgut Özal, Süleyman Demirel and Ahmet Necdet Sezer prosecuted 207, 158 and 163 people respectively.