Man severely injured during Gezi Park protests investigated over tweets allegedly insulting Turkey’s president

Aydın Aydoğan

Aydın Aydoğan, who was injured by a gas canister during the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and is now partially disabled, is under investigation for allegedly “insulting the president” and “praising a crime and a criminal” in three tweets he posted in November, the Diken news website reported.

Aydoğan’s tweets, including one that featured a picture commemorating the Gezi Park protests, were cited as the basis for the investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Another tweet by Aydoğan referred to in the investigation was a satirical post about the opening ceremony for a public toilet held by government officials in October in eastern Tunceli province.

His third tweet concerned a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, about which Aydoğan said, “We all know who carried out the July 15 coup.”

Aydoğan said his posts were covered under the right to freedom of expression and can not serve as the basis for such an investigation.

The Gezi Park protests began in 2013 over government plans to demolish Gezi Park in Taksim. They quickly developed into mass anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the government, resulting in the deaths of 11 protesters due to the use of disproportionate force by police.

Turkey experienced a controversial military coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016 which, according to many, was a false flag operation aimed at entrenching the authoritarian rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by rooting out dissidents and eliminating powerful actors such as the military in his desire for absolute power.

A total of 44,675 investigations have been launched by Turkish prosecutors into individuals on allegations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since his election as the country’s 12th president in 2014, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Özgür Özel said on Friday.

Thousands of people in Turkey are currently under investigation, and most of them are under the threat of imprisonment over alleged insults of Erdoğan.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime was committed through the mass media.

The insult cases generally stem from social media posts shared by Erdoğan opponents.

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