The numbers are staggering. In just the last three months, from October to December, 93 criminal complaints were filed by Erdogan against those who have ‘insulted’ him and almost half of those are journalists!
TODAY’S ZAMAN – President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been the complainant in 93 criminal complaints for cases of insult in the three-month time frame of October to December 2015, according to a recently released report on news portal bianet.org.
Of the 93 people accused under Articles 125 and 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), 42 are journalists.
Article 125 reads, “Anyone undermining the honor, dignity or respectability of another person or who attacks a person’s honor by attributing to them a concrete act or fact, or by means of insult shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of between three months and two years or punished with a judicial fine.” As for Article 299, it mandates that anyone convicted of insulting the president serve a jail term of between one and four years.
In the months from October to the end of December, 34 journalists were in prison. Since then, several have been released.
Television suffered from the most censorship with 18 channels being cut off from broadcasting. Access to 13 websites was also blocked, four magazines were censored and books by four authors were removed from circulation.
The number of unemployed journalists spiked in that period, with at least 213 journalists losing their jobs. In the same period of time last year, this number was only 47.
Journalists are increasingly accused of being “terrorists” and “spies” in Turkey and there are 74 facing charges for crimes such as “membership in a terrorist organization,” “espionage,” “attempted coup” and “violation of privacy.”
What’s crazy about all of this is that Erdogan acts like a king but he’s not even the most powerful man in the country. He’s only president, which is more akin to the office of Vice President here in the states. Prime Minister is the most powerful office in Turkey, but PM Davutoglu lets him run the country anyway. It’d be like Obama letting Biden run the country while Obama acts like his sidekick. It’s just weird.
No wonder some in Turkey are already calling Erdogan ‘Caliph’.