Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Ali Ergin Demirhan acquitted of "insulting the president"

Ali Ergin Demirhan acquitted of


Demirhan was charged with “insulting the president” over a social media post that criticized Turkey’s Syria policy


The third hearing in a trial where editor Ali Ergin Demirhan was facing the charge of “insulting the president” over a social media post was held at the İstanbul 55th Criminal Court of First Instance on 4 July 2022.

Lawyers of both Demirhan and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the hearing, which was monitored by P24.

Presenting their opinion, the prosecutor stated that the elements of the impugned crime did not exist and demanded Demirhan’s acquittal. Demirhan’s lawyer Çağan Yazıcı concurred with the opinion and demanded the journalist’s acquittal. President Erdoğan’s lawyer, on the other hand, requested that Demirhan be convicted as charged.

About the case

The social media post cited in the indictment was posted following a Russian air strike in Idlib, Syria on 27 February 2020 that killed 33 Turkish soldiers. “Two non-drinking drunkards have dragged Turkey into the heaviest and most embarrassing military defeat in its history by mobilizing the Turkish Armed Forces for a cross-border operation that has no legal basis and throwing it in front of the world's second largest military power,” Demirhan wrote.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation against Demirhan after an anonymous sender reported the post to the Police Anti-Cyber Crime Unit. The indictment that was prepared following the investigation claims that Demirhan’s post falls outside the scope of the right to criticize and freedom of expression and that it “damages the honor, dignity and reputation of the president.”