Tatvan Co-Mayor: There is no legal obligation to keep Erdoğan’s photo in office

Mümin Erol, Co-Mayor of the DEM Party-run Tatvan district of Bitlis, testified on charges of ‘insulting the president’ for taking down a photograph of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from his office.

Tatvan Chief Public Prosecutor's Office initiated an ex officio investigation against Mümin Erol, DEM Party Co-Mayor of Tatvan District Municipality in Bitlis, on the charge of ‘insulting the President’ for taking down a photograph of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan from his office after his election.      

The investigation for taking down Erdoğan's photo was initiated despite the fact that no action was taken against CHP and MHP municipalities where similar practices took place. For example, in municipalities such as Kastamonu, Ortahisar and Kurşunlu, Erdoğan's photo was taken down, but no investigation was launched against the mayors.

Erol gave his statement at Tatvan Courthouse today. He was accompanied by Tatvan Co-Mayor Belkiza Beştaş Epözdemir and many party members.

Erol noted that similar practices took place in CHP and MHP municipalities before and said, ‘We did not keep the photo of the chairperson of our own party in the room. I did not utter any insulting words during the taking down of the photo. I also did not engage in any insulting action or behaviour.’ Erol remarked that the investigation was against the law and that they would file a criminal complaint regarding the corruption files.

Erol's lawyer Muhammed Acar said: “There is no legal regulation for hanging the President's photograph in the office room. Turning this situation into an instrument of political pressure is the instrumentalisation of the judiciary."

Lawyer Diyar Orak recalled that a lynching campaign was launched against his client in the media and asked for a decision of non-prosecution.

Co-mayor Erol made a statement in front of the courthouse after the procedures and emphasised that ‘the judiciary must adhere to the principles of the rule of law’. "This mindset will not take you anywhere. Law is necessary for everyone.”