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Opposition politician sues Erdoğan, minister over ‘terrorist’ remarks

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A politician from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has sued Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who recently called her a “terrorist” and “militant,” according to Turkish media.

CHP İstanbul provincial branch head Canan Kaftancıoğlu filed a TL 1.01 million lawsuit against Erdoğan and a TL 1 million lawsuit against Soylu. Kaftancıoğlu also filed criminal complaints against both officials.

Kaftancıoğlu attracted Erdoğan’s anger last week after she visited Boğaziçi University students who held demonstrations last week in protest of Erdoğan’s appointment of a partisan rector to the university.

Erdoğan’s appointment of Professor Melih Bulu, a former AKP parliamentary candidate, as rector of Boğaziçi in a presidential decree last week has drawn widespread criticism from the university, alumni and opposition politicians, who accused the president of trying to politicize Turkey’s universities and curtail academic freedom.

In a statement on Friday Erdoğan said the people involved in protests against the rector appointment to Boğaziçi University are not students, but terrorists.

“Students are not involved in this. There are terrorists behind it. The CHP İstanbul provincial head, who has nothing to do with the students, is there. She is a DHKP/C militant,” said Erdoğan.

DHKP/C is an acronym for the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, a militant Marxist group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Following Erdoğan, Soylu also took aim at Kaftancıoğlu in a tweet over weekend, accusing her being a “clown of terrorist organizations.”

Soylu claimed Kaftancıoğlu is a militant of the DHKP/C, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) as well as the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP)

In a statement on Tuesday Kaftancıoğlu denied all the accusations directed at her by Erdoğan and Soylu, saying she has been subjected to constant and systematic attacks, insults and accusations from Erdoğan and his party due to the CHP’s success in the 2019 local elections in İstanbul.

Kaftancıoğlu is regarded as one of the architects of the that municipal election victory, which ended Erdoğan’s long-running rule in the city and dealt a significant blow to his party.

Kaftancıoğlu called on Erdoğan and Soylu to prove their claims and present evidence to the public showing her links to a terror organization.

In September 2019 she was sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly insulting Erdoğan and spreading terrorist propaganda. She is free pending appeal.

Kaftancıoğlu was elevated to “special protection” status by Turkish authorities after she and her family received death threats. However, the government withdrew a protective detail it had assigned to Kaftancıoğlu after she was sentenced on insult charges.

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