Turkish court jails man for sharing Bild's headline 'Dictator Erdoğan'

Mehmet Şah Tekiner, 62, who shared the "Dictator Erdoğan" headline of the German Bild Newspaper, has been sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison for “insulting the president”.

Mehmet Şah Tekiner (62) has received jail time for "insulting the president" for allegedly sharing online a report of Diken news site "German Bild newspaper: Turkey is drifting into civil war" which was originally published in German newspaper Bild with the title "Dictator Erdogan? What Next?" on November 5, 2016.


Tekiner was summoned to testify at the Diyarbakır Police Department as part of the investigation against him due to the report which was published by many websites apart from Diken. He said that he does not know how to use social media platforms and does not have an account of his own. He revealed that the Facebook account of Mehmet Şah Tekiner did not belong to him, and he heard it for the first time during his testimony. Tekiner's statement was disregarded since officials thought that he wanted “to get rid of crime”.


On 26 June 2019, the Ministry of Justice permitted prosecutors to launch an investigation for "publicly insulting the president". A trial began after the Diyarbakır 4th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment prepared against Tekiner which demanded up to 4 years in prison.

Tekiner stated during a hearing that he did not have a social media account and that the account in question may have been opened by his children or grandchildren.


Tekiner's lawyer, Resul Tamur, pointed to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), saying, “If the ECtHR rulings are taken into account, the alleged action cannot be considered an insult, at most it can be deemed as trenchant criticism against the rulers. Also, there are Erdoğan’s statements which say that he is not a dictator and that no one can call him a dictator. Therefore, we demand his acquittal since the elements of the crime against him did not emerge.”


However, the court argued that Tekiner's statements aimed to “get rid of the crime”, and sentenced him to 1 year, 3 months and 16 days in prison. The court reprieved the announcement of his sentence.


Lawyer Tamur appealed to the Regional Court of Justice against the court's verdict.