Turkish coast guard stops vessel, captain intterogated for insulting Erdoğan on radio

A Panamanian-flagged vessel was forced to dock by the Turkish coast guard while it was sailing through the Dardanelles on Thursday after its Turkish captain allegedly insulted Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in radio communication, Turkish media reported.

According to a story on the CNN Türk website, the dry cargo vessel Salix was stopped after the TurkishVessel Traffic Service (VTS) informed the coast guard that its captain had insulted Erdoğan in a radio conversation.

The VTS reported to the coast guard that Turkish captain O.B. was allegedly heard speaking about Erdoğan in an insulting way.

Subsequently, the coast guard ordered the captain to hand his duties over to the chief mate and to dock the ship on the north coast of Bozcaada (Tenedos Island).

CNN Türk also said the captain, who was reportedly intoxicated, was questioned by a prosecutor after the vessel dropped anchor.

In a statement on Thursday, Ramazan Yılmaz, head of the port authority of Çanakkale province, said legal action has been launched against the captain in response to the information passed on to him by VTS officials, the report said.

Meanwhile, Gökçe Fırat (Çulhaoğlu), the leader of the National Party (UP) and a columnist for the Türk Solu weekly magazine, who has been under arrest for more than 8 months over coup charges, was sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in jail for insulting President Erdogan, on Thursday.

Fırat is accused of using intimidating expressions against Erdogan, in his book titled, “Bloodstained Road to the Presidency.” The court suspended the penalty underlining that the accused expressed remorse during his hearing.

Fırat was arrested on Aug. 31, 2016 on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and membership in an armed terrorist organization called “FETÖ,” an acronym that the Turkish government uses for the Gülen movement. An indictment drafted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office seeks two consecutive life sentences for Fırat and each of the 12 other journalists. (SCF with turkishminute.com & turkeypurge.com) June 9, 2017

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