KONYA (Reuters) - A 16-year old Turkish high school student appeared in court on Friday in the central Anatolian city of Konya on charges of insulting President Tayyip Erdogan.
Police arrested Mehmet Emin Altunses in December after he read out a statement slamming both the ruling AK Party government and Erdogan over corruption allegations during a ceremony to commemorate the killing of a Turkish soldier by Islamists in 1920s.
“I should have been at school at this hour today but I am at the courthouse. I don’t want to come to the court frequently. I want to be acquitted of all charges at the next hearing. I want to look to the future,” Altunses told reporters outside the courthouse.
Lawyer Baris Ispir said the teenager will plead not guilty to charges at the next hearing in September.
“We believe that sooner or later justice will be done and unveil the truth free of all political pressures. Therefore we believe that our client will be acquitted,” Ispir said.
In a video broadcast by Dogan News Agency last year, the teenager read out a statement defending secularism and the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, as a crowd surrounding him chanted “everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption”.
Turkey’s penal code forbids insulting the president.
Reporting by Mert Ozkan; Writing by Yesim Dikmen and Dasha Afanasieva; Editing by Hugh Lawson