An investigation has launched into well-known actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen, who spoke critically of President Tayyip Erdoğan.
Actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen, who spoke critically of President Tayyip Erdoğan while appearing on a TV programme, came under fire from President Erdoğan following a roasting in the regime press. With them singled out, Istanbul Anatolian Republic Chief Prosecution launched an investigation into the two actors on charges of “incitement to civil war and coup.” Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen were taken to the judicial complex to make a statement by police officers who came to their homes on Sunday morning. The two actors, having completed their statement procedures, were brought before the court with judicial control terms sought. And the court released the two actors on judicial control terms.
Erdoğan had said of Akpınar and Gezen, “They are apologies for actors. Let them give account to the judiciary. They will pay the price for this. You are minded to swing this country’s president from a rope. Now go and pay the price before the judiciary.”
AKPINAR AND GEZEN TAKEN TO GIVE STATEMENT AND MAKE FIRST COMMENTS
A police team came to Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen’s homes in Kadıköy on Sunday morning.
Following entry by the police, Akpınar came outside on his own. Akpınar said, “There’s a summons from the learned prosecutor. We are going to make a statement.”
Akpınar was taken in a police vehicle to the Anatolian Judicial Complex. Müjdat Gezen was also taken to the Anatolian Judicial Complex to make a statement. Gezen, refusing to get into the police car, went to the judicial complex in his own car.
Speaking to Odatv, Müjdat Gezen said, “I am going to the prosecutor. I will make a statement. What I said is known. I will also shortly say it at the prosecution. I do not give anyone, not just Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the right to put my patriotism on trial.”
Gezen’s lawyer Celal Ülgen met Gezen at the judicial complex. With journalists asking Müjdat Gezen at the entrance to the judicial complex, “Did you expect to be arrested?” his lawyer Ülgen interrupted and said, “There is no arrest.” Asked by members of the press, “Did you expect an investigation?” Gezen said, “Nothing will come of this.”
MÜJDAT GEZEN’S STATEMENT
In his statement, Müjdat Gezen apparently said, “The words I spoke on the People’s Arena programme are true. I said it with humorous intent. I had no intention of defaming any president.” Gezen said, “At a group meeting, the President had said, ‘Those living in Kadıköy are the cream set. It is no concern of theirs if Turkey is destroyed.’ And I, since I live in Kadıköy, spoke those words with the aim of criticising this situation.”
Gezen commented, “As I said, I had no intention of defaming the president. These words I spoke are entirely correct, but they were not words spoken with the intent to defame. I am engaged in the theatre and I articulate this very sentence on stage because my theatre is in Kadıköy. I also speak these words there, in a comedy play at my theatre in Kadıköy and I speak them with humorous critical intent.” Gezen rejected Erdoğan’s accusation of defamation saying, “I had no intent to defame anybody. I had absolutely no intent, either, to defame the president. I do not accept the charges laid against me.”
STATEMENT FROM METİN AKPINAR’S LAWYERS
The statement made by actor Metin Akpınar’s lawyers Atilla Hekimoğlu, Burçin Hekimoğlu and İrem Hekimoğlu read, “A different spin was put on the matters discussed on the programme especially by certain media outlets and it was sought to engender the perception that the President of the Republic of Turkey was seemingly being targeted, with the result that the matter was thereby conveyed incorrectly to both the public and the President.”
The statement noted that the matters discussed on the People’s Arena programme broadcast on Halk TV on which Akpınar was a guest on 21 December had been greatly misunderstood and certain distressing, mistaken conclusions had been made, and read:
“A different spin was put on the matters discussed on the programme especially by certain media outlets and it was sought to engender the perception that the President of the Republic of Turkey was seemingly being targeted, with the result that the matter was thereby conveyed incorrectly to both the public and the President. While holding the desire for the matter not to be misunderstood by the public, we respectfully announce that we will resort to legal action against the said media organs which misled society with untruthful news, and their responsible persons.”
RELEASED ON JUDICIAL CONTROL TERMS
Former CHP parliamentarian Barış Yarkadaş, who was present at the Anatolian Judicial Complex, gave an account of the procedures on his social media account: “Following Metin Akpınar, Müjdat Gezen has also been brought to the judicial complex. Metin Akpınar and Gezen’s statements will be taken at the Organized Crime and Constitutional Crime Office. I have spoken to Metin Akpınar. He is in very good spirits. He sent his greetings to everyone. Metin is waiting for the prosecutor just now.” Yarkadaş noted in another of his posts, “At 11.20, actor Müjdat Gezen was also brought accompanied by police to the Constitutional Crime Office. Müjdat is also in good spirits. He is accompanied by lawyer Celal Ülgen. Müjdat also conveyed his greetings to those who inquired. The treatment deemed to befit eighty-year-old actors shows where the bar is set as far as our democracy goes.”
As Akpınar started making his statement, Yarkadaş also announced, “Actor Metin Akpınar has started to make a statement to the Investigating Prosecutor at 11.50 because of the thoughts he voiced on HALK TV. Metin had toast in the corridors of the judicial complex to which he was brought without even having had breakfast. The dark days in which Akpınar and Gezen are brought to the judicial complex…”
Having completed their statement procedures, the actors were brought before a court with judicial control terms sought. A ban was placed on Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen leaving the country and they were ordered to attend at a police station to sign once a week. Gezen’s lawyer Celal Ülgen announced the court’s decision.
WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT DID AKPINAR AND GEZEN SAY?
Akpınar drew attention to the polarization in the country while engaging in political criticism on the People’s Arena programme presented by Uğur Dündar on Halk TV. Akpınar commented as follows:
“The regime in which individuals can determine their futures with free will is the democracy. And I think that the sole remedy to enable us to escape this polarization, this chaos, is also democracy. If we can make it there, it will be fine and there will be no quarrelling and we will sort this business out. If we can’t, just like all versions of fascism, maybe they will hang up the leader from his feet, maybe he will die of poisoning in dungeons or maybe he will experience the bad ends that the other mentioned leaders have, but it will be a shame for us and we will be devastated.”
Müjdat Gezen, in turn, was singled out by media outlets close to the government for having said, “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, you cannot put our patriotism to the test. Know your limits.”
ERDOĞAN SAID ‘GO AND PAY THE PRICE FOR THIS BEFORE THE JUDICIARY’
On Sunday, at the 2018 Financial General Board of the Council of Foreign Economic Affairs, President and AKP General Chair Tayyip Erdoğan targeted Müjdat Gezen and Metin Akpınar without naming them, describing them as “apologies for actors.” Claiming that these people had gunned for him through the media, he said, “They are supposedly going to rope me up. What does it matter even if you are actors of wide acclaim? They will pay the price for this. Now go and pay the price before the judiciary.”
President Erdoğan again railed at the Gezi resistance in his speech. Saying the Gezi protests “erupted due to the transporting of twelve trees,” Erdoğan commented, “They looted our small business people’s shops, they left no shops on İstiklal Street, they fired bullets at our police and they burnt municipal buses.”
In his speech at a mass opening ceremony held in Arnavutköy, he also said the following, targeting Metin Akpınar and Uğur Dündar along with Müjdat Gezen:
“There are rabble-rousers garbed as actors and writers alongside the politicians with CHP badges on their lapels. Three of these railed against me and Turkey on a TV station that is the CHP’s official broadcasting outlet. They first set out insulting the people calling them a generation of rhinoceroses, and then said that everything was not to be solved at the ballot box. If you ask, they are democratic actors. But they have not the slightest respect for the people’s will. Supposedly, unless democracy is implemented in the manner they wish, maybe they will hang up the leader, that is me, by the feet. Even if the whole crowd of you are hangmen, what of it? I have testified to Islam and believe in it. But, you have no faith and let us talk about this. Let us recall past coups and see whose turn they wished for next. I will not name them; what is called for will be done before the judiciary. Apologies for actors, all of them will pay the price for this.”
Following their targeting by Erdoğan, an investigation was launched into the two actors.
CHARGED WITH ‘THREATENING COUP AND DEATH’
A written comment on the matter signed by Istanbul Anatolian Republic Chief Prosecutor İsmail Uçar read as follows:
“With it determined that reports had been obtained whereby Müjdat Gezen and Metin Akpınar, who appeared on the 21.12.2018 edition of the programme named the People’s Arena presented by Uğur Dündar on certain press outlets and social media accounts, targeted the Head of State of the Republic of Turkey making insult-laden comments and made threats of coup and death, an investigation was launched on 22.12.2018 pursuant to Article 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure number 5271 for the purpose of investigating the substance of the matter and bringing the necessary legal procedures to bear on the responsible parties, and both suspects were summoned to this Republic Chief Prosecution for the taking of their defences, and the matter is respectfully announced to all press/broadcasting outlets.” (EVRENSEL DAILY)
Translated by Tim Drayton