Turkey’s prosecutor tracks viral video `insulting’ Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

THE office of Istanbul’s chief prosecutor has launched investigation into the source of a viral video “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The videos which originated on TikTok and later went viral on other platforms showed people hiding their cash as soon as they see an image of the Turkish leader.

The probe seeks to identify those “who made or shared” the videos, an official at the prosecutor’s office told dpa on Thursday.

The investigation falls under Turkey’s Article 299, which stipulates up to four years in jail for insulting the president, the official added.

State news agency Anadolu said police would “identify and detain the suspects.”

In the videos, users are seen counting cash but then hiding it when an image of Erdoğan emerges in the background.

“Take out your foreign exchange and gold from under your pillows,” Erdoğan is heard saying, a reference to the president recently encouraging Turks to put their savings in banks to defend the ailing Lira currency.

The lira lost more than 50% of its value versus the U.S. dollar over the past year, making life even harder for Turks already struggling with soaring inflation and low buying power.

Critics argue the “insult” cases, along with a proposed social media law, could lead to stricter censorship on the internet.

The parliament is set to vote on the draft law next month.

Erdoğan’s ruling party, in power for nearly two decades, is expected to face its toughest contest yet in the general elections planned for mid-2023. (dpa/NAN)