President ErdoIan visits Denizli: 21 people detained for ‘possible’ protests

A group of 20 youths from the ultranationalist Turkish Youth Union (TGB) and a dentist have been detained over protesting against President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan during his visit to the Aegean province of Denizli on Saturday. The detentions are the latest in a series of recent arrests and detentions on charges of insulting ErdoIan.

Police first detained 11 TGB members as they walked along Bursa Street in Denizli dressed as Turkish heroes of the Battle of andC

A group of 20 youths from the ultranationalist Turkish Youth Union (TGB) and a dentist have been detained over protesting against President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan during his visit to the Aegean province of Denizli on Saturday.

The detentions are the latest in a series of recent arrests and detentions on charges of insulting ErdoIan.

Police first detained 11 TGB members as they walked along Bursa Street in Denizli dressed as Turkish heroes of the Battle of andCcedilanakkale of 1915. Still hours before ErdoIanand#39s visit, police detained a further nine members of the TGB who held a banner saying, andldquoWe defeated the undefeatable ones, we will destroy the AKP [the Justice and Development Party, or AK Party], which was said to be indestructible.

andrdquo

Police later also detained Deniz Demirci, a dentist in Denizli, after entering her clinic while she was treating a patient. The police claimed that Demirci had made hand gestures to protest ErdoIan as his bus passed by her clinic.

Demirci, who was released on Sunday, told newspaper reporters that she was talking to a patient when she heard one of the presidentand#39s officials address her from the roof of the bus through her open clinic window. Demirci denied the accusation of protesting, noting that snipers and other security personnel in the area would have rushed to her if she had made a gesture of protest.

TGB members were also detained for protesting ErdoIan during his visits to BalIkesir and Izmir earlier this month. The apparent witch hunt being conducted against those critical of ErdoIan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would appear to be growing, as 29 other people, including school teachers, also faced investigations on the grounds of insulting ErdoIan during a protest on Feb.

13 in the province of Kocaeli. The protestors were calling for a curriculum and education system based on secular and scientific principles in reaction to the governmentand#39s efforts to restructure the education system in line with political Islam The group stands accused of slandering ErdoIan during the demonstration.

In a related development, a member of the ultranationalist Homeland Party (VP) who has been sentenced to a prison term of one year and two months for calling ErdoIan a andldquodictatorandrdquo was taken into custody on March 12. The 23-year-old Aykutalp AvIar, who is the chairman of the VPand#39s youth branch in the central province of Kayseri, and two other members of the TGB were recently tried in Kayseri for calling then-Prime Minister ErdoIan a andldquodictatorandrdquo during the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013, the Sandoumlzcanduuml daily reported last week.

According to a report published on the Ileri Haber news portal on Friday, at least 187 people — an average of almost one every day — have either been detained or questioned by police for insulting ErdoIan since he became president on Aug. 28, 2014.

Current Turkish law forbids insulting the president. Violations of that law can lead to penalties of more than five years in prison.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman