The Turkish Justice Ministry has approved almost 2,000 cases involving charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since 2014.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said that 1,845 prosecutions had been approved, in a response to a question from opposition MPs in the Turkish parliament. "I am unable to read the insults levelled at our president. I start to blush", Bozdag said, as quoted by AP.
Erdogan is a divisive political figure in Turkey, and critics accuse him of using the law banning insulting the president to stifle dissent. Before Erdogan became president in August, 2014, the law was rarely invoked.
Lawsuits for insulting the Turkish president require justice ministry approval before proceeding. Erdogan's legal team have repeatedly supported people bringing legal actions against those accused of insulting him.
In recent months the law has been used to prosecute critics of all ages. In February, a 13-year-old boy in Balıkesir province was summoned by prosecutors over accusations he had insulted Erdogan on Facebook.
Football legend Hakan Sukur was also charged with insulting Erdogan last month, after accusing the President and members of his inner circle or corruption on Twitter. In December a man was charged after comparing Erdogan to the character Gollum from the Lord of the Rings movies.