A 16 year old student has been arrested by Turkish police for allegedly insulting the country’s President.
The high school student was arrested on Wednesday after criticising the ruling AK Party during a speech at a student protest in the central Anatolian city of Konya.
The teenager could face up to four years in prison if found guilty.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu defended the arrest, saying the presidential office “needs to be shown respect”.
Turkey’s penal code makes it a crime to insult the president.
‘Everywhere is corruption’
The boy’s speech, given to commemorate the killing of a Turkish soldier by Islamists in the 1920s, was recorded on video and broadcast by Dogan News Agency.
In it, he defends secularism and the principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic.
He also singled out President Erdogan for criticism over recent corruption allegations, as the crowd chanted “everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption”.
Hurriyet newspaper said the boy was believed to be a member of a leftist organisation, but he denies having links with any political party.
Speaking to prosecutors, the boy said: “I’ve made the statement in question. I have no intent to insult.”
The teenager has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have lodged an appeal against the charges.