21 January 2021: Cartoonist Sefer Selvi was acquitted at the final hearing on his trial at the İstanbul 18th Penal Court of First Instance for “insulting the president” in 11 comics he created between 2014 and 2017, reported Bianet.
He was tried under Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, treating about “insulting the president” as a criminal offence.
Announcing its ruling the court highlighted that, although his comics can be disturbing and offensive, “they do not involve public defamation or an attack on honour and respectability.”
As a result, Sefer Selvi was acquitted of the charge on the grounds that “the President must show more tolerance in the face of criticisms,” as required by his political duty.
Safer Selvi is a cartoonist for Evrensel daily newspaper. In his cartoons he generally criticises the economic crisis, injustice and corruption-related issues in a humours way.
“Following Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taking office as President of Turkey in 2014, prosecutions under Article 299 dramatically increased”, according to Freemuse.