Turkey: Nearly 1000 Children Stood Trial for ‘Insulting’ Erdogan in 6 Years

The Saudi news network al-Arabiya cited official Justice Ministry statistics Sunday to reveal nearly 1,000 children in Turkey between 2014 and 2020 have suffered prosecution on charges of “insulting the president,” a crime in Turkish law.

Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has regularly used “insulting the president” accusations to persecute dissidents and civilians overheard mocking or criticizing his rule, both filing criminal charges and civil charges meant to bankrupt defendants. Turkey’s penal code criminalizes several forms of speech — including insults towards the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who Erdogan has disparaged with impunity.

Al-Arabiya reported that 903 Turkish minors went to trial over allegations they had insulted Erdogan. The youngest to be prosecuted were 12 years old; 264 of those prosecuted were between the ages of 12 and 14.

Including adults, Turkish processed over 11,000 cases on charges of “insulting the president” in 2019.

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