Special to WorldTribune.com
Insulting the president in Turkey is a crime.
Apparently, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn’t like being insulted – and a lot of people are doing it.
“The justice ministry has allowed 1,845 cases on charges of insulting Erdogan to go ahead,” Bekir Bozdag said, responding to questions in parliament.
“I am unable to read the shameful insults made against our president. I start to blush,” said Bozdag, who is from Erdogan’s ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party.
Critics say Erdogan is abusing the law to stifle any form of dissent. Those who have faced trial for insulting the president include journalists, cartoonists, academics and even schoolchildren.
Last month, a Turkish man filed a criminal complaint against his wife for insulting Erdogan. It is the first known case where somebody has faced legal action for comments made about Erdogan in the privacy of their own home.
Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail. The law was invoked only rarely prior to Erdogan’s election as president 18 months ago.
Since he became president in 2014, Erdogan has been trying to reshape Turkey’s constitution to boost the powers of the president, which was previously a largely ceremonial role.