Actor İlyas Salman appears before court

The court accepts president Erdoğan’s request to join the case in which Salman is being tried on the charge of “insulting the president” as intervening party; Salman’s attorney requests recusal of the court; trial adjourned

Cansu Pişkin

The second hearing of the trial of actor İlyas Salman on the charge of “insulting the president” (TPC 299) over his statement “Erdoğan’ı o koltuğa layık görmüyorum” (“I don’t think Erdoğan is deserves that position”) in an interview with the BirGün newspaper that was published on 1 August 2022 was held at the İstanbul 2nd Penal Court of First Instance on 10 October 2023.

Salman and attorneys for the parties were present at the hearing, which P24 followed. Delivering his defence statement following identification and the summary of the indictment, Salman said “I have been doing comedy in this country for 50 years. I have never been as laughable as those who have brought us here to this courtroom” and rejected the impugned crime.

Salman’s attorney Uğur Poyraz reminded the court of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment on Vedat Şorli and said that the legislation on the crime of “insulting the president” was in violation of international conventions. Attorney Poyraz requested that the case be dismissed as per the Vedat Şorli judgment of the ECtHR: “You cannot establish a special status for the president and allow a privilege despite this decision. It is not lawfully possible to file this case. There can be no trial over a legal provision that does not exist.”

Speaking against the request of the attorney for President Erdoğan to join the case as an intervening party, Salman said “I think the complaint is invalid given the law and I do not accept their request to intervene”. Attorney Poyraz said “The President does not have justification to intervene in this case. The judiciary should not be so scared. Courts should no longer encourage this behaviour.”

The court stated that despite the Vedat Şorli judgment of the ECtHR, the Constitutional Court had not found the legislation on the crime of “insulting the president” to be unconstitutional and rejected the request for immediate acquittal on grounds of unconstitutionality. The court accepted President Erdoğan’s attorney’s request to join as an intervening party.

Attorney Poyraz stated that the court’s interim order was unlawful and said “I reject this court which has arrived at an unconstitutional decision”. The court allowed Salman’s attorney time to convey their request for recusation in writing.

The trial was adjourned until 1 February 2024.