A Turkish cartoonist was interrogated by the police for publishing a cartoon of Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Cartoonist Yusuf Kayaalp said on Twitter that he was accused of insulting the president. “I was just called to a police station for insulting the president,” he said. “And just for drawing a cartoon. Is this guy a religious figure or something? What makes him so sacred?”
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.
Thousands of people in Turkey are under investigation, and most of them are under the threat of imprisonment, over alleged insults of President Erdoğan. The insult cases generally stem from social media posts shared by Erdoğan opponents. The Turkish police and judiciary perceive even the most minor criticism of the president or his government as an insult.