HSBC manager prosecuted for insulting Erdogan five years ago

HSBC Bank’s Turkey general manager is being prosecuted for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over a video that he shared five years ago on social media, despite not making the video or writing the comments associated with it.

Five years ago, Selim Kervancı retweeted a video about the Gezi Park protests which journalist Ayşe Arman’s shared on Twitter. That was a footage which circulated on social media during the incidents, but not produced by Ayşe Arman herself.

The Sözcü Daily reported that the prosecution was instituted after an individual denounced him for retweeting the video on Twitter.

However, the video itself has not been the subject of any investigation or prosecution.

The charge Kervancı faces is one of insulting the president. The problem is that at the time he shared the video Erdogan was not president, but prime minister.

Called to give a statement to police, Kervancı in the presence of his lawyer, said he himself had not even viewed the video.

He said: “Ayşe Arman is a journalist whom I follow. I retweeted this video without knowing its content.”

The video was titled: “The farewell kiss of Hitler: The growing complaint of Gezi Park.”

Kervancı said of the complaint against him: “I certainly have no intention to insulting our president, his position or any other public officials. I think that the complainant(a Turkish citizen but not Mr. Erdogan) made this complaint in order to attack to my personality and my professional reputation.”

The Gezi Park protests on 28 May 2013 erupted over an urban development plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park.  

They erupted following the violent eviction of a sit-in at the park protesting the planned development. Subsequently, supporting protests and strikes took place across Turkey in about all cities, protesters expressed concerns over various issues such as press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism.

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