Case opened against lawyer who called Turkish minister bald

Turkish prosecutors in the southern Adana province have opened a case against a lawyer for three social media posts, in one of which he called the interior minister bald, Turkey’s Duvar news site reported.

The lawyer, Tugay Bek, uploaded three social media posts criticising President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government for their policies, for accepting expensive gifts and for using force to suppress dissent.

In one of the posts Bek referred to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who is bald, as “bald-headed”. The lawyer is now under investigation for insulting the president, a charge that carries a potential prison sentence of between one and four years.

“They’ve started proceedings against me for insulting the president, but the prosecutors couldn’t find anything they could pin down as a crime … In the end, they told me that I had called a minister bald and this could be counted as an insult,” Bek said.

Critics of Erdoğan’s government say it abuses laws against insulting the president and other state officials to silence opponents. A report published last year in March said there had been more than 66,000 investigations and more than 12,000 trials opened against people accused of insulting the president since Erdoğan assumed the position in 2014.