Turkey has called on assistance from the Finnish government to prosecute a man living in Finland who is accused of defaming Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan by posting derogatory pictures and statements on social media.
The Turkish government made the request shortly after both countries signed a “memorandum of understanding” as part of Turkey’s agreement to allow Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance.
Part of the agreement includes requests for extradition of people in Finland and Sweden suspected of being linked to terrorism. The man accused of defaming Erdogan is not on that list, broadcaster Yle reports.
The man, who lives in the city of Tampere, is accused of insulting Erdogan by posting derogatory images and comments on the social media platform Facebook in 2016. Turkey has previously attempted to have the man extradited but the request was denied in 2021.
The man, a dual citizen of Finland and Turkey who has lived in Finland for several decades, has been subject to prosecution in Turkey since late 2016, but Ankara is now requesting a Finnish court summon the man in the case for a hearing.
Indignant: Turkey on Warpath over New Charlie Hebdo Erdogan Cartoon https://t.co/UJ9eryKHPH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 28, 2020
Previous requests by Turkey have been rejected by Finnish courts on grounds that aiding the Turkish prosecution would not be compatible with principles of human rights and freedoms.
The Pirkanmaa District Court stated last year that while the man’s social media postings could be regarded as vulgar his chances for a fair trial in Turkey were weak due to the political nature of the act.
The request is not the first time Erdogan and his government have demanded criminal prosecution for those who have insulted the Turkish leader.
In 2016, Turkey called for the criminal prosecution of German comedian Jan Böhmermann over a vulgar poem recited on the comedian’s television programme Neo Magazin Royale that attacked Erdogan.
Following the airing of the poem, the Turkish consulate in the Netherlands also called on Turks to report any insults they heard about Erdogan as well.
In Turkey itself, insults toward the President are criminally prosecuted, with journalist Sedef Kabas being remanded into custody earlier this year for allegedly insulting Erdogan.
In total, tens of thousands of people have been prosecuted under the law, including children as young as 12.
Turkey’s Erdogan Warns Against Free Speech, Says Social Media a ‘Threat to Democracy’ https://t.co/czCayEygL6
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 12, 2021