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Erdogan silences his critics with humiliating laws

Erdogan silences his critics with humiliating laws

TV journalist Sedik Kabas has been detained since January on suspicion of insulting Erdogan.

Among other things, her comment in the broadcast that “the bull does not become a king because it enters the palace, but the palace becomes a barn” is considered a disgrace to the president. She was arrested after repeating herself in front of her 900,000 followers on Twitter.

Cabas, whose trial began in March, now faces twelve years and ten months in prison. Erdogan also wants the equivalent of 170,000 Swedish kronor as compensation.

tools of oppression

Reporters Without Borders and about 30 other organizations involved in freedom of expression are calling for Kaba’s release.

The anti-democratic heinous crimes law has become a tool of repression and it illustrates the authoritarian policy of the government, says Erol Onderoglu, RSF Turkey representative.

Since Kapas’ arrest, a number of other people have been arrested, including former elite swimmer and Olympic participant Derya Buyukoncu who joked about Erdogan on Twitter.

use increased

The law prohibiting insulting the presidency was instituted in 2005 by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party.

Use in the country – which goes to the polls next summer – has increased in recent years. More than 31,000 people were charged with the crime in 2020 and 36,000 in 2019, according to official statistics. 2010 was the same as number four.

Sompel Kaya, a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Research at the Military School in Paris, sees the law as a way for the government to weaken the rule of law and attack ordinary citizens. She believes that it is mainly about protecting Erdogan’s person.

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– Take the swimmer as an example, President Erdogan claimed that it was the office that was attacked, but in fact he meant him as an individual, she said.

– We are moving from protecting the presidency to protecting the individual.

Shot Editor

Turkey has been repeatedly criticized for undermining press freedom and media critical of the government, a development that escalated after the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in July 2016.

Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 153 out of 180 in its Press Freedom Index.

Most recently, the editor-in-chief of a local newspaper in Kocaeli in northwestern Turkey was shot dead outside the newsroom. Swings Arslan, who was also previously assassinated, had in the newspaper’s latest issue accused the mayor, an AKP politician, of corruption. The police arrested the suspect and did not give his name.

Facts: Turkey under Erdogan

Turkey has been ruled by the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) since 2002. Current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prime minister between 2003 and 2014, when he took over the presidency from Abdullah Gul.

During the AKP’s first year in power, Turkey experienced a sharp economic recovery, with improved living standards for large segments of the population. But in recent years, the economy has stagnated, with rampant inflation and unemployment, while the country, according to many observers, has developed in an authoritarian direction.

The attempted coup in 2016 marked the beginning of an increasingly harsh policy, which has meant, among other things, that hundreds of thousands of people have been imprisoned or fired from work, accused of links to the Gulen movement, which Erdogan has cited as responsible for the coup. (Preacher Fethullah Gulen himself denies involvement.) A large number of journalists were also imprisoned for unclear reasons.

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With a constitutional amendment in 2017 and more legislative changes and decrees after the 2018 re-election, Erdogan has reconfigured the state apparatus in a way that in principle means that the previous parliamentarism has been replaced by a presidential government, with a very large concentration of power for the head of state.

At the same time, Erdogan and the AKP have given Islam an increasingly prominent place in historically secular Turkey.