Former Turkish health minister jailed for insulting Erdoğan’s son Bilal

Rıfat Serdaroğlu

Right Party (DP) leader and former health minister Rıfat Serdaroğlu was sent to prison on Thursday to serve two months, 17 days for allegedly insulting Bilal Erdoğan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the ANKA news agency reported.

Serdaroğlu, who was a member of the cabinet from 1993 to 1999, will serve his sentence in Turkey’s western province of İzmir for an article he wrote in his personal blog in 2018 about Bilal Erdoğan.

Serdaroğlu said his defense was not considered during the trial and that the verdict was handed down in his absence.

Many people have received various sentences for insulting Erdoğan’s family under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which concerns successive and blatant insults of a person.

In February former executives and reporters for the Cumhuriyet newspaper Serkan Ozan, Olcay Büyüktaş Akça, Ozan Yurtoğlu and Hazal Ocak appeared in an İstanbul court on charges of insulting Bilal Erdoğan.

In September Turkey’s first lady, Emine Erdoğan, filed a criminal complaint against Gökay Başcan, editor of the BirGün daily, for publishing a story covering a ban on reports on the Turkish Environment Agency (TÜÇA), which was established in 2020 under her auspices.

Başcan was accused of insulting Emine Erdoğan, and the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office decided there were legal grounds to launch a case. The indictment against Başcan was accepted by the İstanbul 17th Criminal Court of First Instance.

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