A probe into two prominent Turkish actors' comments on "fascism" has been launched by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office, in a move that was endorsed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; he accused the actors of issuing a "death threat" to him, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
On Sunday, Erdogan lambasted "these so-called artists" after they threatened to take him to the gallows.
"You think you can hang the president of this country? Now go and pay your price at the judiciary," he said.
77-year-old Metin Akpinar and 75-year-old Mujdat Gezen made the remarks on December 21, when they were hosted by journalist Ugur Dundar on his program on Halk TV.
"I believe that the only solution for us to get rid of this polarisation and fights [hostility] is democracy. If we can't reach that point, then perhaps the leader will be hanged from his feet like it happened in all other fascisms [fascist regimes] of the past, or he will be poisoned in a dungeon or live the end of all the other [similar] leaders, but it will be ultimately our own destruction," Akpinar said.
Gezen, for his part, slammed Erdogan for "pointing his finger at everybody" and warned the Turkish president to "know" his limit.
"Look, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, you cannot test our patriotism. You should know your limit", Gezen noted.
Meanwhile, Celal Ulgen, Mr. Gezen's attorney, reproached the prosecutors for what he described as a lack of tolerance, while Mr. Akpinar's attorney, Atilla Hekimoglu, claimed that "both the public and the president misunderstood" the actors' remarks.