the justice of Turkey issued eight arrest warrants, including one against a former Olympic swimmer, for messages they posted on Twitter mocking the president’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan was infected with covid .
The 67-year-old head of state announced on Saturday that he and his wife suffered from a “mild” form of the disease, and that he remained working at home.
He then posted several messages on Twitter to thank world leaders who conveyed their wishes for recovery.
But in the flow of messages of sympathy, the authorities detected on Saturday an account attributed to former Olympic swimmer Derya Buyukuncu, who claims have prepared a large quantity of sweets that are normally offered at funerals.
Turkish swimmer Derya Buyukuncu. Photo: AFP/Fabrice Coffrini
The Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office announced on Monday that it had issued an arrest warrant against Buyukuncu as part of an investigation into “criminal-type messages on social networks” about the president’s covid.
Buyukuncu represented Turkey in six Olympic Gamesbeing the flag bearer of the delegation in Atlanta 1996. In addition, he was bronze medal in the 100 meter backstroke at the 2000 World Short Course Swimming Championships.
wave of arrests
Total eight arrest warrants have been issued for the same reason since Sunday, and four people have already been arrested.
The Turkish authorities have opened more than 160,000 investigations for insults to the president since Erdogan, in power for 19 years and previously prime minister, became president in 2014.
To date, the courts have pronounced 3,625 convictions for this type of crime against the presidential figure.
Insulting the president is a long-standing crime in Turkey. But Erdogan, first elected to office in 2014, has a reputation for being exceptionally litigious.
One of the most recent cases is that ofjournalist Sedef Kabas, who was arrested in january accused of having insulted President Erdogan when during a political program he used a traditional Turkish saying that “when the cattle enters the Palace it does not become a king, but the Palace becomes an establishment”.
Previously, in November 2021, Yüksel Üstün was sentenced to 10 months in prison for violating a law that makes it a crime to insult the “honor, pride, and respectability” of the president.
Ustun had written on his Facebook page that Erdogan is “a Jew posing asMuslim”. The sentence was later reduced to a payment of 7,000 Turkish liras.