Lebanese-Armenian TV host Neshan Der Haroutiounian will stand trial for “insulting” the Turkish president and the Turkish people , the Arab Weekly reports.
Der Haroutiounian will be tried in court in October for “publicly and directly offending” Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish people on his talk show ‘Ana Hek’ on Al Jadeed TV.
Responding to a message from a viewer who called the host a refugee and accused him of racism for calling Erdogan evil, Der Haroutiounian confirmed “… [he is] evil and the son of a million evil men” before clarifying his attack was directed at “Erdogan, the [Turkish] regime, the Ottomans and the Turks.”
“If you consider me a refugee, then I am more Lebanese than you, and I am proud of my country, Lebanon, more than you are,” he added.
The remarks prompted a swift response from Turkish authorities who contacted the Lebanese foreign ministry and demanded the state institution take “necessary measures” against the media personality.
The Turkish Embassy mobilized dozens of protesters to demonstrate in front of the Al Jadeed TV station against “insulting the Ottoman state and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”
Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) said that “according to information provided to the Public Prosecution Office, Der Haroutiounian will be referred to trial before the Court of Publications Chamber in Beirut.”
However, the Arab Weekly quoted a Lebanese journalist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that there were no grounds for the judicial charges against Der Haroutiounian.
“This is a matter of a historical dispute that has no prospect, knowing that it is about a great crime against the Armenian people – a crime that Turkey refuses to recognize. This in itself continues to provoke Armenians wherever they are,” the journalist said.
Colleagues from different media outlets have been showing solidarity with Neshan Der Haroutiounian on Twitter.