2 veteran journalists face legal proceedings for ’insulting’ Erdogan

An indictment prepared recently by Prosecutor Kadir Yılmaz asked for Ozkok to be punished on the charge of insulting Erdogan an article published on Sept. 3, 2015.

In his indictment, the prosecutor highlighted that Ozkok was previously invited to testify related to the alleged offense but didn’t go to the prosecutor’s office for his plea or provide evidence to acquit himself.

“The suspect [Ozkok] used some words and made comments about the president that are unacceptable in society, and it is clear these comments aimed to humiliate his subject [Erdogan]. The statements in the column were evaluated as going beyond the limits of criticism,” Prosecutor Yılmaz asserted in his indictment.

The prosecutor also argued that Ozkok’s comments are not in line with freedom of expression as defined by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) since the criticism leveled by Ozkok at Erdogan was an attack on the president’s personal rights.

The first hearing of the trial will start at the Bakırkoy 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance in the upcoming days.

In a separate incident another prosecutor has sought two years and eight months prison time for Ozkok on the charge that he insulted the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Suleyman Soylu in a column.

An indictment prepared by the Bakırkoy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said a criminal complaint was filed against Ozkok by Suleyman Soylu’s lawyer, claiming that the columnist insulted his client and committed libel against him in a column dated July 25, 2015. The indictment though only accused Ozkok of insulting Soylu, on the grounds that there was no element of libel in the column.

In his column titled, “Who gave the order to kill?” Ozkok criticized Soylu for making the owner of the Dogan Media Group, Aydın Dogan a target by claiming that he is a defender of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“To whom should we complain about this man?” Ozkok asked in reference to Soylu. In May, Soylu openly threatened Dogan, saying: “I am addressing you Aydın Dogan. You too will pay the price for what you have done.”

Finally, veteran journalist Cengiz Candar also testified on Friday afternoon against the charge of insulting Erdogan. The charge was raised due to his article “The Excuse: the fight against terrorism; The Goal: revenge for June,” which referred to the pressure imposed on journalists right after the June 7 election, in which the AK Party lost the majority needed for single-party rule.


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