Istanbul, July 8 () - A fashion designer has been sentenced to pay a judicial fine on charges of “insulting” Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan through his Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The Ankara 44th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled on July 8 that designer Barbaros Şansal committed the crime of “insulting via an audio, written or visual message” and sentenced him to pay a judicial fine of 7,080 Turkish Liras.
During the hearing on July 8, Burhanettin Sevencan, an attorney for Erdoğan, argued Şansal violated his client’s “personal rights” through correspondence on Twitter and Facebook.
As of April this year, over 70 people in Turkey have been prosecuted for “insulting” Erdoğan since he was elected president in August 2014. There were hundreds of similar cases during his term as Turkey’s prime minister.
In March 2014, while dogged by accusations of corruption soon before crucial local elections, Erdoğan had threatened to shut down Facebook and YouTube “if necessary” via a controversial law, vowing he “would not sacrifice the Turkish people” to the two websites.