Over 26,000 investigated, 5,000 faced trial for insulting Erdoğan in 2018 – Birgün

A total of 26,115 people were put under investigation and 5,223 of them, including 168 minors, faced trial in 2018 for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reported left-wing newspaper BirGün.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul Chairwoman Canan Kaftancıoğlu, who was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison, and Burhan Borak, a Turkish citizen from the eastern province of Van who was sentenced to 12 years and 3 months in total on seven counts, are among thos convicted of insulting the president, it 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.

A total of 2,462 people were convicted, including 19 minors and two foreigners, while 687 people including five foreigners were sentenced to prison for insulting Erdoğan. 

Another 199 people, including 11 minors and one foreigner, were handed down fines.

Twenty eight minors and six foreigners among a total of 1,114 people were acquitted, while 2,039 people including 117 minors and 13 foreigners were given suspended sentences, BirGün said.

Investigations and convictions on Article 299 have skyrocketed since Erdoğan stepped into office as president in 2014.

A total of 340 people faced trial for insulting the president during the term of former president Kenan Evren, who took office in 1982 after the military coup of 1980.

During Turgut Özal’s term, from 1989 to 1993,  the number dropped to 207, and further to 158 during the term of Süleyman Demirel from 1993 to 2000. 

Turkey saw a slight increase in the number during Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s time in office from 2000 to 2007.

The first spike during Abdullah Gül’s term saw 848 people face trial, with this figure catapulting to 12,173 during President Erdoğan’s first four years in office.