The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office Press Crimes Bureau launched an investigation against T24 news website’s columnist Hasan Cemal on charge of “insulting the President of the Republic” over his Twitter posts. Cemal was summoned to give his statement about two retweets from other accounts, including a post by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Mithat Sancar, and one tweet from his own account (October 8).
The indictment has concluded that Hasan Cemal committed the offense of “insulting the President of the Republic” with his social media messages where he said, “The only criteria for being a democrat is not only to stand up against the military coup attempt but also to say no to the deepening Erdoğan coup!” on July 19, 2019 and where he said “If the Caliphate is to be reintroduced again, Tayyip Erdoğan will probably be the caliph” by mentioning T24 columnist Murat Belge’s article titled “Caliph” and dated July 15, 2020. The indictment was accepted by the İstanbul 41st Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing will be held on April 12, 2022 (December 11).
At the hearing held on April 12, 2022, the prosecutor of the hearing indicated that the posts of Hasan Cemal were comments and criticisms and concluded that they fell within the scope of freedom of expression. The court board also concluded that the elements of the crime had not been constituted and ruled for Hasan Cemal’s acquittal (April 12).