Serpil Kırkeser - Özden Atik / Istanbul, June 23 () - An artist who President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was ordered to be pay 10,000 Turkish Liras in compensation now faces four years in prison for describing the money as “haram” or forbidden in Islam.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office prepared a two-page indictment against sculptor Mehmet Aksoy after Erdoğan’s lawyer filed a complaint claiming that the artist had “insulted” the president.
The indictment claimed that by calling the fine to be paid by Erdoğan “haram money” Aksoy implied that the president had earned his money through illegal means.
An Istanbul court had ruled on March 3 for Erdoğan to pay 10,000 liras in moral indemnities to Aksoy, partially accepting the 100,000 liras case Aksoy had filed against Erdoğan.
The case was filed when Erdoğan was still serving as prime minister in 2011, after he expressed his dislike of Aksoy’s giant “Monument to Humanity,” which was in the process of being built in the eastern province of Kars on the border with Armenia, prompting local authorities to dismantle the sculpture. Aksoy then sued Erdoğan for “insulting” him.
After partially winning the case back in March, Aksoy said he planned to spend the money celebrating with his friends, rather than using it for his art.
“I will invite friends on March 21 for Nevruz celebrations and we will spend the money there. I will share it with them. We cannot do anything else with haram money” he said.