Özgür Mumcu has been accused of an op-ed published on May 18, 2015 entitled “Tyrant and a coward” where he criticized President Erdoğan’s complaint against Hatice Cömert, the mother of Gezi protest victim Abdullah Cömert.
“It is a well-known rule that tyrants are always fearful. So fearful that they would file a complaint against Abdullah Cömert’s mother” the piece has read.
During his first defense on Feb 2, Mumcu objected claims that the article included any sorts of insult.
“The piece is a critical text referring to the appellant’s [President Erdoğan] complaint filed against the mother of Abdullah Cömert after some of her statements following his death. This article was written on the complaint of Erdoğan. This complaint has appeared in the media" Mumcu said.
"As a columnist, I used my right for criticism. I am a legist myself. I am a professor. The testimonies and annexes that we have given include samples of decisions of the European Court Of Human Rights (ECHR) and the domestic law. Therefore, I do not accept the accusations” added Mumcu.
Lawyer of President Erdoğan, Hatice Özay, said their complaint continued, as Erdoğan was “defined as a tyrant who oppresses his people, treating them mercilessly” in Mumcu's article. “We think that these wordings exceed the limits of criticism. For these reasons, we demand penalty of the defendant” Erdoğan's lawyer argued.
The court decided to postpone the proceeding, offering time to lawyers of sides, to present evidence and assertions.
The criminal charge argues that Mumcu’s article includes "defamatory statements" and Mumcu is accused of "insulting" President Erdoğan.
Mumcu has cited cases of Lokumcu and Elvan
Mumcu has also cited the case of Metin Lokumcu, who died of a heart attack in the Black Sea town of Hopa in 2011 during a police intervention to a protest.
Along with Lokumcu, Mumcu has referred to the case of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old child who had died after 269 days in choma, having been shot in the head by a gas caninster during Gezi Park protests. Mumcu has defined Erdoğan’s attitude over these incidents as “cold-heartedness”.
Tayyip Erdoğan has been accused of encouraging his supporters to boo Elvan's family in a rally.
Daily Cumhuriyet under attack
Along with Özgür Mumcu, also the son of prominent journalist, researcher and writer Uğur Mumcu who was killed in 1993, daily Cumhuriyet has been under attack while its Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar and Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül have been in jail.
President Erdoğan has filed an individual criminal complaint against Dündar and Cumhuriyet on June 2, claiming that their intel truck story “included some footage and information that are not factual”. “Who wrote the story will pay a heavy price" Erdoğan has said.