Turkey: Alleged insult to Erdogan – well-known TV journalist arrested

Turkey: Alleged insult to Erdogan - well-known TV journalist arrested
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TV journalist Sedef Kabas is in custody because he is said to have insulted President Erdogan. Turkey has a course of action against media persons.

Istanbul – A TV journalist is in Turkey because of critical statements about the president Risp Tayip Erdogan Arrested and taken into custody. Sedef Kabas was arrested on Saturday (January 22, 2022) at his apartment in Istanbul at around 2 pm (local time), according to his lawyer Ugur Poyras. Accordingly, a court ordered his arrest for “insulting the President”.

On Friday (January 21, 2022) the journalist in a TV show on Tele1 criticized the government for cracking down on critics and polarizing the society. Kabas later criticized Erdogan on Twitter, where 900,000 people follow him – without explicitly naming the head of state.

Turkey: Erdogan’s spokesman calls statements ‘immoral’

“When a bull enters the palace, it does not become king, but the palace becomes stable,” wrote a Turkish TV journalist on the short message service. The tweet garnered a lot of attention and garnered over 140,000 likes (as of January 23, 2022, 8:40 am). In Turkey, insulting the president is a criminal offense that can carry between one and four years in prison.

Cabinet members and Erdogan’s spokesman Fahrettin Altun called Kabas “immoral” and “irresponsible” after his statements. Altun said on Twitter: “A so-called journalist has directly insulted our President on a TV channel with no motive other than to spread hatred.” “I strongly condemn this arrogance, lack of morals,” he said.

Journalist arrested for criticizing Erdogan in Turkey: “serious attack”

Kaaba’s lawyer Ugur Poiras told the German press agency he would appeal the “illegal” decision. “We hope that Turkey can soon return to the rule of law,” said the lawyer. Mardan Yanardag, editor-in-chief of Tele1 channel, also strongly criticized the arrest. “Your arrest at 2 pm is unacceptable,” the journalist wrote on Twitter. “This stand is an attempt to intimidate journalists, media and society.”

The Turkish journalists association TGS said Kaaba’s arrest was “a serious attack on the freedom of the press”. The association has repeatedly condemned restrictions on press freedom in Turkey, especially since the 2016 coup attempt. In a ranking of press freedom last year by the non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders, Turkey ranked 153 out of 180 countries surveyed.

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Erdogan’s AKP-led government repeatedly takes action against the press. In August 2021, after TV stations grimly reported about forest fires in Turkey, the public prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into “insulting the Turkish government” and “inciting fear and unrest”. In late 2020, journalist Cain Dunder, who was in exile in Germany, was sentenced to more than 27 years in prison.

Turkey: TV journalists have criticized Erdogan in the past

Meanwhile, Turkey’s media regulator RTUK launched a separate investigation against broadcaster Tele1 because of “unacceptable statements against our president”, as its chairman Ebubekir Sahin announced on Twitter. Meanwhile, users on social media have shown their support for Kabas.

The 52-year-old journalist was briefly detained in 2014 for a message on social media. At the time, he criticized the Public Prosecutor’s Office for dropping corruption investigations that included Erdogan. (TVD with DPA/AFP)

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