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TV anchorman testifies to prosecutor over allegations of insulting President Erdoğan

Turkey’s Fox TV anchorman Fatih Portakal testified to a prosecutor on Thursday as part of an investigation launched over tweets criticizing censorship of a theater play called “Sadece Diktatör” (Just a Dictator), on accusations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The play, which was performed by actor Barış Atay, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, was censored across the country in January.

“Barış Atay’s play ‘Sadece Diktatör’ has been banned everywhere due to state ideology. How much can a play annoy the rulers? Can anyone be afraid of a play? It’s just a play,” Portakal tweeted on Jan. 19.

According to a report on the Diken news website, a citizen filed a complaint with the prosecutor about Portakal’s tweet.

Portakal reportedly told the prosecutor that he did not intend to insult President Erdoğan.

Meanwhile, the İstanbul 2nd Court of First Instance on Thursday ordered two former Evrensel daily executives, Vural Nasuhbeyoğlu and Arif Koşar, to pay TL 7,000 ($1,100) each for insulting President Erdoğan.

Also in İstanbul a 38-year-old man, Sayat Morboyacı was detained on Wednesday during an identity check by police officers in a Metrobus station for allegedly insulting the president.

According to the Agos daily, he was reported to the police by a citizen who overheard Morboyacı on a phone call allegedly insulting the president. After spending a night in detention, Morboyacı was released by an İstanbul court without any charge.

Thousands of Turkish citizens have been the subject of criminal charges for insulting President Erdoğan since he came to office in August 2015.

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