Turkey’s main opposition facing 141 investigations over ‘insulting the president’

Özgür Özel, parliamentary group leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that 217 investigations have been opened against 95 of the party’s lawmakers, 141 of which pertain to “insulting the president,” Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

Özel said the crime of insulting the president should be removed from the penal code, as it is designed for a neutral president in a parliamentary system - not the system of an executive presidency linked to a party that Turkey has adopted. 

“It is an attempt to limit the opposition's participation in politics, and to interfere with the judiciary,” he said.

Özel said it was clear that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was abusing the charge from the recent data which suggested that 5,683 convictions of insulting the president had taken place under his presidency, compared to 71 under a former president Süleyman Demirel.