Following his party's embarrassing defeat at the polls earlier this month, where the opposition wrested control of the municipal governments of Istanbul and Ankara, and last month's destabilizing currency crisis, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again cracking down on dissenters, including the few remaining voices in Turkish media who dare criticize him directly.
According to Bloomberg, Istanbul police briefly arrested and detained the economist Mustafa Sonmez, known for opposing the government’s policies, after he allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sonmez's lawyer told the state-run Anadolu press agency that police barged into the economist's home on Sunday morning, arrested him, and took him to a police station in Istanbul. Sonmez, who has also been working as a columnist and a television commentator, was reportedly questioned about several tweets that were critical of the government's response to the results of the local elections.
Sonmez reportedly criticized Erdogan for not recognizing Ekrem Imamoglu as the winner of Istanbul’s mayoral race. The AKP is demanding a recount and possibly a new vote.
His lawyer said that Sonmez was interrogated for a few hours and then released. But just because he was let go doesn't mean he won't face a legal case in Turkey.
Erdogan has been cracking down on the press and freedom of expression in Turkey since the failed July 2016 coup, when Erdogan began a purge that has ensnared tens of thousands of Turks. Turkish police made headlines in late 2016 for shutting down one critical television outlet in the middle of a live broadcast.
After the arrest, Sonmez tweeted that police burst into his home at three o'clock in the morning, and promised that he wouldn't be silenced, saying "the water never stops."
He later claimed that it was ridiculous that he was detained for alegedly insulting Erdogan when there's so much substantive criticism to levy at AKP and its policies.
Sabahın 3 lerinde benim de kapım çalındı, nezarette ağırlandım, ifade sonrası serbestim— Mustafa Sönmez (@mustfsnmz) April 14, 2019
Arayan, ilgilenen herkese teşekkürler.
Bu su hiç durmaz
Tutturmuşlar bir CB’na hakaret teranesi.— Mustafa Sönmez (@mustfsnmz) April 14, 2019
Yahu benim enerjim kıymetlidir.
Niye onu gereksiz şeylere harcıyayım?
AKP genel başkanın yanlış icraatlarını eleştirmek gibi yararlı bir iş varken
niye hakaret gibi lüzumsuz bir işle vakit kaybedeyim?
We imagine that defiant tone will win him plenty of friends in Ankara.