The former managing editor of Evrensel Newspaper, İsmail Cem Şimşek was charged with “insulting the President” as per Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, for the news article titled “Alman Karikatüristler Erdoğan’ı Fena Çizdi” (“The German Cartoonists’ Nasty Portrayal of Erdoğan”) published on the website of the newspaper on August 1, 2015.
An investigation was launched upon Erdoğan’s complaint, and the cartoons in German were translated into Turkish.
In his statement at the prosecutor’s office İsmail Cem Şimşek stated that cartoons had been published in 2015, and pointed to the expiry of the statute of limitations. He also indicated that the cartoons’ illustrators, and the newspapers and magazines that published them were known, and that he was not responsible for the cartoons.
On March 11, 2019, a permission was received from the Ministry of Justice to sue Şimşek for “insulting the President” as per Article 299/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The indictment against Şimşek was completed on May 8, 2019. The first hearing of the case was held on October 10, 2019 at Bakırköy 27. Criminal Court of First Instance. The lawyers argued that as per Press Law, the trial had to be referred to the 2. Criminal Court of First Instance, which is responsible for press-related offenses. At the second hearing held on October 31, 2019, the court ruled for lack of jurisdiction and forwarded the case to 2. Criminal Court of First Instance.