Erdoğan targets main opposition CHP’s İzmir provincial organization with five fresh ‘insult’ lawsuits

Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed lawsuits against five officials from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s İzmir provincial organization on charges of “insulting the president.”

One of the five people accused of “insulting the president” is 24-year-old Dila Koyurga, the secretary of CHP İzmir youth branches as well as the councillor of the Karabağlar district. Koyurga faces charges for tweets she posted when she was 17 years old, former CHP deputy Zeynep Altıok Akatlı wrote on Twitter.

“Trolls are now targeting one of our young members of the [Karabağlar] municipal council by sharing her tweets she posted back in 2013 (at the age of 17). If you are looking for insults and swearing at Rte [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan], look the [previous] talks of Bahçeli and Soylu. You will find them in ample quantities,” Akatlı said, referring to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chair Devlet Bahçeli.

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Bahçeli, who is now Erdoğan’s one and only ally, was once one of his fiercest rivals. Until recently, Bahçeli used to target Erdoğan with personal insults such as “separatist”, “dictator” and “thief”, but all this change when the two established “The People’s Alliance” in 2018.

Mustafa Doğan İnal, one of the lawyers of Erdoğan, targeted Koyurga on Twitter saying: “I would not want to share these tweets [of Koyurga], but I am sharing them for all to know. You will not pull through by simply erasing these disgusting tweets after sharing them. Do not cry saying ‘one more opponent is standing trial, this is freedom of speech.’ You will give account of this before the law.”

Other than Koyurga, CHP’s İzmir deputy chair Yasin Ergül, CHP’s Gaziemir mayor Halil Arda, the former head of CHP’s youth branches Volkan Gürboğa and CHP İzmir provincial organization member Caner Gül are facing charges of “insulting the president.”

Since Erdoğan took office in August 2014 as the president, the number of cases against people who allegedly “insulted” the president has spiked.

In Erdoğan’s first term (between 2014-2018), 17,406 individuals were investigated over Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, which criminalizes insulting the president of the Republic. This marks a significant percent increase compared to the term of his predecessor Abdullah Gül, during which 848 cases were filed, Turkish media outlet reports had previously said, citing Justice Ministry statistics.

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About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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