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InternationalTens of thousands protested in support of Turkey's leading opposition

Tens of thousands protested in support of Turkey’s leading opposition

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Tens of thousands gathered on Saturday to protest in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, in support of leading opposition figure Janan Kaftanjioglu, the BBC reported.

Demonstrators also erected posters depicting Kemal Ataturk.

Kaftanjioglu, who heads the branch of the secular People’s Republican Party (CHP) in Istanbul, smiled and waved to her supporters.

She received a criminal conviction for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish state.

In 2019, Kaftanjioglu was sentenced to nine years, eight months and 20 days in prison. Following an appeal, the term was reduced to just under five years. Under Turkish law, sentences of less than five years are usually suspended.

The 50-year-old woman now faces a suspended sentence.

Some of the allegations are related to messages posted on Twitter 10 years ago.

She said the accusations against her were politically motivated.

Recall that in 2019 alone, more than 3,800 people in Turkey were sentenced to prison for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as Al Arabiya reported at the time, citing Turkish media BirGun.

Turkish justice has jailed 3,831 people for insulting Erdogan, an 87% increase from 2018, when 2,046 people were convicted.

Turkey’s penal code provides for up to four years in prison for insulting the head of state. The sentence can be increased if the insult is expressed in the public sphere.

Human rights groups have called on Turkey to end the persecution of citizens for “insulting the president”. They accuse the government of using the law to shut up dissidents.

According to Turkish journalist Bulent Kenesh, who fled abroad, the Turkish government under Erdogan has drawn a very fine line between critical comment and insult. Kenesh received three life sentences and another 15 years in prison in Turkey after criticizing the head of state in July 2016. He fled to Europe. According to him, the so-called “insult” cases have nothing to do with real insult.

“It would be extremely unusual and abnormal to see 3,831 people imprisoned in a democracy in one year because they simply criticized their president. But under the Erdogan regime, it is normal to prosecute any dissident with fictitious trials in his arbitrary courts.” , the journalist emphasized.

A total of 36,066 people were investigated in 2019 for insulting Erdogan.

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