Turkish police detain man looking to send notarised letter to Erdoğan

Turkish police detained a man at a notary office in Istanbul, where he was looking to send President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an official letter of complaint, Duvar news site reported on Monday.

A notary public office in the Sarıyer district of Istanbul notified the police when Nuri Başkapan said he wanted to issue a notarised letter of complaint to the Turkish president, stating he does not “accept or acknowledge his presidency,’’ it said.

Başkapan demanded a written statement when he was told the notary office could not fulfil his request to send the letter stating Erdoğan “does not act as an impartial president’’.

Police took Başkapan to a nearby police station where a case was opened against him over insulting the president, Duvar said.

“I did not insult [the president]. As a citizen, I wished to send him a notarised letter. And my reasons for doing so are listed therein,’’ Başkapan said.

Insulting the president is a crime according to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Investigations and convictions on Article 299 have skyrocketed since Erdoğan stepped into office as president in 2014. By 2018, Erdoğan’s lawyers had filed more than 1,800 cases against people, including school children and celebrities.