The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has joined the hundreds of people against whom President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a criminal complaint on insult charges.
Erdoğan’s lawyers filed the complaint against CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at an Ankara court, claiming that remarks made by the main opposition leader during a speech in Ankara last week went beyond the boundaries of free speech and criticism and included insult.
Turkey witnessed a war of words between Erdoğan and Kılıçdaroğlu last week which emerged after Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the way the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government handled a child abuse scandal in Karaman province.
During a speech at the Turkish Doctors Union in Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu said: “The address for both sexual perversion and political perversion is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”
His remarks came in response to Erdoğan who a day ago called Kılıçdaroğlu a “political pervert” due to the way he criticized Family and Social Policies Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu on the grounds that the minister was seeking to cover up the child rape scandal in Karaman.
According to Erdoğan’s lawyers, Kılıçdaroğlu committed the crime of “insulting president” which is mentioned in the Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
In addition, Erdoğan’s lawyers also filed a compensation case of TL100,000 to Kılıçdaroğlu for non-pecuniary damages due to his remarks about the president which the lawyers said was a violation of Erdoğan’s personal rights.
According to a statement from Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ last month, Turkish prosecutors have opened nearly 2,000 cases against people for insulting President Erdoğan since he was elected to presidency in August 2014.
Critics accuse Erdoğan of intolerance and say he is using the law to stifle dissent. Those who have faced trial for insulting Erdoğan include journalists, cartoonists, academics and even teenagers.