37 students and teachers charged with insulting ErdoIan

Thirty-seven students and teachers have recently appeared in court on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, while criminal complaints have been filed against 11 others accused of breaking Law No. 2911 on Public Assemblies and Demonstrations while attending a protest in Trabzon.

Education Personnel Union (EIitim-Sen) Trabzon branch head Muhammet Ikinci was among those who have been summoned to testify before a court on charges of breaking the law, whic

Thirty-seven students and teachers have recently appeared in court on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, while criminal complaints have been filed against 11 others accused of breaking Law No. 2911 on Public Assemblies and Demonstrations while attending a protest in Trabzon.

Education Personnel Union (EIitim-Sen) Trabzon branch head Muhammet Ikinci was among those who have been summoned to testify before a court on charges of breaking the law, which regulates the actions allowed in demonstrations and protests. Reacting to the decision, Ikinci said, andquotThis intolerance to people in a country where the government is responsible for guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and rights, including the expression of all ideas, gives us a clue about the want sort of regime the government is becoming.

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On Feb. 13, a crowd of students, teachers and members of EIitim-Sen staged a demonstration in Trabzon province against the government in order to protest its education policy and called for an education system based on andldquosecular and scientificandrdquo principles.

Following a press statement, the group dispersed without engaging in any acts of violence.

Soon after the demonstration, it was revealed that the Trabzon Police Department had launched legal proceedings against some of the protesters on the grounds that they had broken the law regulating demonstrations, and 11 protesters was summoned to testify before a court.

In addition, 37 people who participated in the protest are facing accusations of insulting President ErdoIan.

Discussing the legal proceedings, Ikinci drew a parallel between the accusations and the persecution of Italian scientist Galileo Galilei, who was forced to recant his beliefs by the Roman Catholic Inquisition for claiming that the Earth traveled around the sun.

andquotFiling lawsuits against educators who express their demands for an education system based on secular and scientific principles is shameful in terms of the functioning of democracy in Turkey. Defending an education system based on secularism and science is a part of an educatorand#39s job and responsibility.

No pressures, investigations or undemocratic practices will force us to stop defending these principles. This sort of oppression simply increases our determination to continue on this path,andrdquo Ikinci said.

Recently, more than 100 people have been charged and some detained after being accused of insulting ErdoIan. Anti-government journalists and public figures in particular have been targeted by the police and prosecutors on the grounds that they have insulted ErdoIan.

These developments are widely considered a new method of intimidating political opponents who do not share the governmentand#39s views.

Dozens of people including journalists Sedef KabaI, Hidayet Karaca and Mehmet Baransu, high school students, activists and even Merve Banduumlyanduumlksaraandccedil — a former Miss Turkey — have been prosecuted for insulting ErdoIan on social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman