Turkish politician in Germany sentenced for social media share

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 22.08.2017 00:22

Turkish-born politician Bekir Sipahi was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a German court for a share he made on social media.

Sipahi, a member of the Duisburg Assembly, was sued by Cem Özdemir, the co-chair of the German Green Party, after he had reacted to Özdemir last year on social media for bringing the 1915 incidents to the Bundestag's agenda last year. While Armenia and the Armenia diaspora pursue worldwide recognition of the 1915 incidents that occurred in the Ottoman Empire during World War I as genocide, Turkey always emphasizes the "suffering of both communities" during conflict and calls for an international research.

After the 14-monthy case, a court in Duisburg sentenced Sipahi to 30 days in jail.

Sipahi contended that Özdemir's intolerance of opposing ideas was exposed with this behavior. "I did not label anyone in the share, I just declared my idea. I will seek my rights in the legal way against the so-called libertarian Özdemir, and I will go to the court of human rights [ECtHR] if necessary," he said.

He explained that he participated in a protest rally in Berlin last year shortly before the allegations regarding the 1915 incidents were brought to the agenda of the Bundestag under the leadership of Özdemir.

"Özdemir was constantly attacking Turkey and President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan in the press. I couldn't remain indifferent as a Turkish-born politician who loved his country, his nation, and I criticized Özdemir for his allegations against Turkey regarding the 1915 incidents with two tweets. Despite him slandering Turkey numerous times for restricting social media and the press, he sued me for my tweets," he said. Sipahi called his sentence a "scandal," and claimed that he has not been informed by the court regarding the ongoing legal process. "Is that Germany's justice? Where are human rights, freedom of speech? Why did they wait 14 months to make such a decision? I will not pay the bail and serve in the prison," he said.

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