Erdoğan sues opposition politician who referred to him as ‘occupier’ of presidency

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against a main opposition party politician who once referred to Erdoğan as “occupying” the presidency, Turkish media outlets reported.

Erdoğan filed a lawsuit seeking TL 500,000 ($60,000) in non-pecuniary damages against Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul provincial chairman Canan Kaftancıoğlu on accusations that she violated Erdoğan’s personal rights.

Kaftancıoğlu made the remark that angered Erdoğan after he accused her of being a terrorist following the politician’s January visit to Boğaziçi University students, who were staging demonstrations in protest of Erdoğan’s appointment of a partisan rector to the university.

Erdoğan said the people involved in the protests weren’t students, but terrorists.

“Students are not involved in this. There are terrorists behind it. The CHP İstanbul provincial chairperson, 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.

Back then, Kaftancıoğlu described Erdoğan’s accusation as “nonsense” and said she would file a complaint against the “occupier” of the presidency on charges of insulting her and attempting to influence an ongoing judicial process.

In his petition to an Ankara court, Erdoğan’s lawyer said Kaftancıoğlu disregarded Erdoğan’s position as president, calling him an occupier in her remarks.

The petition said disregarding Erdoğan’s position as president and describing him as an occupier was tantamount to disregarding the nation’s will.

In April Kaftancığlu was ordered by a court to pay damages in the amount of TL 56,000 ($6,800) to Erdoğan for insulting him on social media.

Regarded as one of the architects of the CHP’s municipal election victory in İstanbul in 2019, which ended Erdoğan’s long-running rule in the city and dealt a significant blow to his ruling party, Kaftancıoğlu was also sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly insulting Erdoğan and spreading terrorist propaganda in the same year. She is free pending appeal.

Along with rights activist Şebnem Korur Fincancı and opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, Kaftancıoğlu was in February listed by French daily Le Monde as one of the three most powerful women in Turkey — opponents of the “Islamo-conservative” Erdoğan who pose a challenge to his “patriarchal model.”

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