Erdoğan’s lawyer appeals acquittal of journalist accused of insulting Turkish first lady

The lawyer of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appealed the acquittal of a Turkish journalist accused of insulting the Turkish first lady after criticising her luxury handbag.

Journalist Ender İmrek of Turkey’s left-wing Evrensel daily was cleared of insult charges last month over a 2019 article he penned on an Hermès handbag belonging to Emine Erdoğan.

İmrek had criticised the Turkish first lady for carrying a $50,000 Hermès handbag during a 2019 trip when she accompanied her husband to Japan for the G20 summit, saying Emine Erdoğan remained indifferent to the financial crisis faced by many in the country.

Prosecutor Muhammed Miraç Yılmaz submitted the appeal, citing the "illegality’’ of the court decision, Duvar news site reported on Monday.

İrmek’s article demonstrates “ill intent,’’ and fails to comply with “journalism ethics,’’ Duvar cited lawyer Özel as saying. 

Turkey suffered a currency crisis in the summer of 2018 that sent the economy reeling into a painful recession, whose effects spilled over into 2019.

Erdoğan is known for taking legal action against insults targeting his family members.

Last year, a number of people were detained in Turkey over alleged insults on social media against his daughter and son-in-law, after the pair announced the birth of their fourth child.

The criticisms also prompted the Turkish president to tighten government control over social media.