Politician sent to prison for criticising Turkish president
A female politician in Turkey has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for
calling the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an enemy of women.
Sebahat Tuncel was sentenced on Saturday the 18th of September for saying
that Erdogan was a “complete misogynist.” She made this remark four
During a 2016 speech, Tuncel said the president was an enemy of women
and Kurds. Her attorney has argued that the politician’s statement was
within the freedom of speech, however the court disagreed.
Tuncel is just one of thousands of Turkish citizens who have received prison
time for insulting the Turkish president.
Turkey’s penal code criminalizes insulting the president, with an offender
typically facing a prison term of up to four years. The sentence can be
increased if the insult is expressed in the public sphere. Over 3,800 people in
Turkey received prison sentences in 2019 for insulting Erdogan.
Tuncel, a Turkish politician of Kurdish origin, has been described in Turkish
media as a women’s rights activist.
Her characterization of the Turkish president as a “misogynist” followed
two controversial speeches made by Erdogan in 2014 and 2016.
Erdogan said publicly women are not equal to men in 2014, and two years
later said that women who reject motherhood are “deficient” and
1. Freedom of speech
3. Prison sentence
1. Should everyone have the right to free speech?
2. What is the difference between Erdogan’s criticism of women and
Tuncel’s criticism of Erdogan?
3. What can be done to stop the criminalisation of free speech?