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Turkey prosecutes nearly 2,000 for insulting president

AFP , Wednesday 2 Mar 2016
Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Reuters)
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Almost 2,000 people in Turkey have been prosecuted for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he came to office in August 2014, a government minister said on Wednesday.

"The number of dossiers which have thus far allowed prosecution with regard to insulting the president is 1,845," Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said during parliamentary questions, media reports said.

Bozdag said any insult to the president was "shameful" and not part of freedom of expression.

"Nobody should have the freedom to insult," he said.

"I cannot even read them. I am blushing... it is not an expression of a thought but just swearing and insult," he said.

"I can show them to deputies who want to see. I don't think our friends can read it without blushing," he added.

Journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens, including high school students, have found themselves in court on charges of insulting Erdogan.

Opponents say Erdogan, who served as premier from 2003-2014, has become an increasingly polarising figure unable to tolerate any criticism.

In one of the latest cases, Turkey's former international football star Hakan Sukur faces up to four years in jail after being charged with insulting the president in Twitter posts.

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