Turkey detains 13 for ‘insulting’ Erdogan on Women’s Day


Protesters march to mark International Women’s Day in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, March 8, 2021. People marched to denounce violence against women in Turkey, where more than 400 women were killed last year, demanding strong measures to stop attacks on women by former partners or family members as well as government commitment to a European treaty on combatting violence against women. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish police have detained 13 people who participated in a Women’s Day march for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, officials and news reports said Thursday.

Thousands of protesters had walked along a street in central Istanbul on Monday to denounce violence against women in Turkey, where more than 400 women were killed last year. Unlike previous years when police broke up similar demonstrations, the march ended peacefully.

However, police later inspected videos of the demonstration and on Wednesday detained 13 people — including a minor — who participated in the protest, the Istanbul governor’s office said. It said the group had chanted “slogans” but did not elaborate.

The Cumhuriyet newspaper and other media said the suspects were detained for questioning over slogans deemed to be insulting to Erdogan.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, punishable by up to four years in prison. Thousands of people, including journalists, politicians, actors and schoolchildren, have been prosecuted for alleged insults to Erdogan.

The detentions came despite a pledge by Erdogan last week to enact human rights reforms, including on freedom of speech.

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