Ferah Yıldız

Erdoğan Finds Fine Too Low in “Faggot” Case, Gets 10 Thousand Liras Extra

LGBTI activist and lawyer Levent Pişkin will pay President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 10 thousand liras more in fines because of his “fag” tweet for which he was already convicted last year.

Source: Çiçek Tahaoğlu, “Erdoğan Finds Fine Too Little in “Faggot” Case, Gets 10 Thousand Liras Extra”, Bianet, 16 April 2015, http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/163848-erdogan-finds-fine-too-little-in-faggot-case-gets-10-thousand-liras-extra

When PM Erdoğan’s stated, “If Alevilik [alawism] is about loving Ali, I’m a perfect Alevi,” Pişkin tweeted the response, “Waiting for PM to declare, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you. Kisses. #AnayasadaLGBT [LGBT in the constitution]”

A case was subsequently filed against Pişkin for “insult, slander or heavy provocation of a public official for their public service.” Ultimately convicted, he was sentenced to pay 1,500 liras [$560] in lieu of 2 months and 15 days in prison. The announcement of the verdict had been adjourned.

After winning the criminal case, Erdoğan had filed a civil suit for damages against Pişkin, demanding to be paid an additional 50 thousand liras [$18,500].

In the court session today, Erdoğan’s lawyer Ferah Yıldız argued that the 1500 lira fine in the previous verdict was not enough, and asked for an additional 50 thousand liras in damages. “My client received other assaults to his legal person because the monetary fine given in the criminal case was too little and my client’s personality rights were affected,” said Yıldız.

Istanbul’s 14th Criminal Court of First Instance ruled against Pişkin, ordering him to pay Erdoğan 10 thousand liras [$3,700] in non-pecuniary damages. In response, Pişkin said, “I cannot possibly pay this sum, I will start a campaign.”  He also plans to launch a solidarity campaign.

Pişkin also stated the following to bianet: “Their argument at court was meaningless. If he hadn’t filed this case, that tweet would never have reached so many people. I find the verdict to be unlawful, both because Erdoğan cannot tolerate criticism as a politician, and because it facilitates the view of homosexuality as an insult.”[1]

[1] See the relevant Wikipedia entry on censorship in Turkey for more information.