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MEP Lagos penalized for tearing up Turkish flag during EP debate

The European Parliament penalized Greek MEP and former member of the far-right Golden Dawn party, Giannis Lagos for tearing up a paper copy of the Turkish flag during a debate in the EP last month.

For using insulting language and tearing apart a national symbol, Lagos will lose seven days of his daily allowance and his parliamentary activities will be suspended for four consecutive days starting on Feb. 11. The financial penalty totals €2,261.

The incident happened during the last plenary session in January when EU lawmakers were debating the humanitarian situation on the Greek islands. Lagos accused the EU of ignoring the rights of Greeks and described a dramatic situation in Greece.

The MEP blamed Turkey for the “stream of migrants coming into” his country and “getting away with whatever it likes.” He then tore into pieces a Turkish flag made of paper, and said: “Let’s put an end to this.”

In a swift response, the chair of the session called for restraint, adding that such behavior was not acceptable. The European Parliament’s President David Sassoli started a sanction procedure against Lagos the following day.

Also on the following day, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the Greek MEP.

Ioannis Lagos will stand trial on charges of “degrading the symbols of state sovereignty” as per the Article 300 of the Turkish Penal Code, according to a statement released by the prosecutor’s office.

According to Article 300 of TPC, “any person who publicly degrades the Turkish flag by tearing, burning it or similar action shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of one to three years.”

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