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Erdoğan files criminal complaint against AEI’s Rubin on insult charges

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon official, allegedly for “insulting” him and “committing crimes in the name of the Gülen movement in his social media messages,” the TGRT news website reported on Friday.

According to the report Erdoğan’s lawyer, Hüseyin Aydın, has submitted a nine-page-long complaint at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Rubin.

In the complaint it is claimed that Rubin’s “unreasonable accusations and insulting social media messages are not only a reflection of the animosity and rage he feels for President Erdoğan, but also a reflection of his enmity towards the Republic of Turkey.”

Erdoğan’s lawyer also claimed that by sharing messages in Turkish on social media, Rubin committed crimes in the name of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

In April, a group of Turkish lawyers also filed criminal complaints with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against 17 prominent US figures including Rubin on allegations of being members of the Gülen movement or supporting it.

Mehmet Sarı and Rıza Saka are two of the lawyers who filed the criminal complaints against former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, US Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) President David Cohen, President of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) Faruk Taban, lawyer Zafer Akın from the Turkish Cultural Center, Kemal Öksüz from the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, Emre Çelik from the Rumi Forum, former Turkish police chief Ahmet Sait Yayla, who currently resides in the US, Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, American political analyst Graham E. Fuller, Mahmut Yeter from the Mid Atlantic Federation of Turkic American Associations, Talha Saraç from the Turkish American Business Network (TABN), CIA Director John Brenan, Recep Özkan, Burak Yeneroğlu and Ralph Peters as well as Rubin.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

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