ANKARA, Turkey — A 16-year-old high school student has been arrested in central Turkey for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by accusing him and his ruling party of corruption, local media reported on Thursday.
The young boy, identified by his initials MEA, was believed to be a member of a leftist organization, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.
He was delivering a speech on Wednesday in the central Anatolian city of Konya, a bastion of Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), in memory of a young secular teacher killed by Islamists in 1930, according to the newspaper.
The boy is now facing up to four years in prison if convicted on the charge.
Turkey’s government faced an unprecedented wave of protests in 2013 against the authoritarian and conservative policies of Erdogan, who was then prime minister.
The AKP government was shaken by a vast corruption scandal last December that dragged down four ministers facing accusations of bribery and influence-peddling.
Erdogan, who was elected president in August, angrily accused his former ally-turned-foe, US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, of concocting the graft scandal.