Nearly 100 people in Turkey have been arrested after being charged with insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the past 10 months, a report says.
According to a human rights report released by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), a total of 98 people accused of insulting the Turkish leader have been apprehended during the time period.
The report says a total of 5,795 people were taken into custody between January and October 7 over human rights issues.
Figures which show the growing number of websites blocked by a court order in recent years have also been included in the report. It says that 15,562 websites were blocked in 2011, 22,536 in 2012, 35,000 in 2013, 40,773 in 2014 and 96,000 this year.
In recent months, hundreds of people, including high-profile media figures such as Sedef Kabas, Hidayet Karaca and Mehmet Baransu, have been detained for allegedly insulting Erdogan.
Bülent Kenes, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish English-language newspaper Today’s Zaman, was handed down a suspended jail term of 21 months by a court in the capital, Ankara, for insulting Erdogan in a message posted on Twitter, after being arrested in October.
A 15-year-old teen was also detained in October, with similar charges being brought against him.
Turkish physician Bilgin Ciftci was recently accused of insulting Erdogan after he compared images of the president to those of a character from “The Lord of the Rings.”
An investigation is expected to take place to determine whether a comparison of the two actually amounts to an insult. Ciftci was expelled from the Public Health Institution of Turkey (THSK) in October.
Rights groups and free speech advocates have criticized the government for suing people over expressing their opinions, describing it as a means of aggressive muzzling of dissent in Turkey.
Erdogan, a former premier who ascended to presidency last year, has faced growing popular dissatisfaction over what critics say is his growing autocratic manner.
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