Istanbul, Sep 2 () - The relative of a soldier killed last month in an attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been arrested by a Turkish court for “insulting the president” in the latest instance of proceedings being opened against those alleged to have defamed Tayyip Erdoğan.
Kazım İpek, a relative of fallen soldier Recep Beycur, was arrested in the eastern province of Erzurum’s Karaçoban district for comments he made during the soldier’s funeral on Aug. 19, according to Radikal, citing daily Cumhuriyet.
“I don’t know what to say anymore. There’s nothing that hasn’t been done to us [since Beycur’s death]. Leave us in peace. They haven’t allowed us to mourn” said Ömer Bulur, a cousin of the soldier.
Bulur condemned İpek’s arrest. “The claims are absolutely not true but are complete slander. It is absolutely out of the question that Kazım İpek, who cannot hear and who is of advanced age, insulted the president or other statesmen,” he said, adding that İpek’s testimony was taken without the presence of a lawyer in front of the Gendarmerie and a prosecutor.
An investigation was also opened into Bulur on allegations of membership in a terrorist organization, discouraging people from the military, threats, and insulting statesmen due to comments he made at the funeral.
“They’re setting brother against brother. I sent my young brother [to the military], and I’m taking his remains. Mr. President needs to know this. Does he understand what I went through to raise him to this age? Doesn’t he fear God at all? He’s the one that put this young person [in the grave]” Bulur said during the funeral.
Pro-government media branded Bulur a “provocateur” “PKK sympathizer” and “ISIL sympathizer” in the aftermath of his comments.