Sentence for Juveniles' "Light Bulb Tayyip" Slogans
Eight trials have been launched against three high school students in Bursa for the slogan "Light bulb Tayyip". The juveniles were convicted in three cases, so far only one court ruled for their acquittal. Young O.K. was found guilty of the same charges in Bursa last year.
High school students and community centre members Y.S., E.Ç. and A.S. will stand trial before the Bursa 2nd Juvenile Court for an alleged decrial of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The students supposedly attended two protest actions where they compared Erdoğan with a light bulb in reference to the symbol of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). They came up with slogans like "Light bulb Tayyip sells education", "Light bulb Tayyip sells health", "Light bulb Tayyip", "American light bulb Tayyip" and "Collaborating light bulb Tayyip". The first hearing of the case is scheduled for 5 May.
As reported by Radikal newspaper journalist İsmail Saymaz, the three juveniles face imprisonment for their slogans put forward on 1 October 2009 at the meeting of the "Platform for Health and a Secured Future for Everybody" in Bursa and in the course of protests against "IMF and World Bank" on 6 October.
Light bulb Tayyip not considered as political satire
High school student O.K. was tried before the same court and under the same accusations last year. He was found guilty in the last hearing of the case on 31 July 2009 and was sentenced to three months and 26 days of duty in a public institution. The prosecution defended the reasoned decision with citations from Google:
"The term light bulb is a noun with roots in the French language. In its primary meaning it comprises a glass device that generates light by electric current within a vacuum (Turkish Language Association Dictionary 2005). In colloquial language however, the word can be used as a bad word or a curse (Google). In this context, it can be used in the meaning of 'peasant' or 'jerk' (Google)".
"The term 'light bulb' might not imply the connotation of insult between two friends who are constantly teasing each other. Be that as it may, saying 'Light bulb Tayyip' in the course of a crowded protest action in the busiest places of the city does not account for criticism in the shape of political satire or communicating one's thoughts. This was said and meant as an insult".
Just one court allowed criticism of a political party
A total number of eight cases have been opened against the three young community centre members in Bursa since 2006 because of the slogans. Four of those trials have been decided. The children were handed penalties in three cases, only one court decreed for their acquittal.
The Bursa 1st Magistrate Criminal Court decreed at that time: "... The slogan 'You are a light bulb, Tayyip', which the defendants used at a protest action related to the government's health politics, did not imply an insult but was part of their criticism of a political party in a democratic society". (EÖ/VK)
Bursa - BIA News Center
03 February 2010, Wednesday