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Opposition leader sues journalist who accused party of collaborating with PKK to start wildfires

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has filed a lawsuit against a pro-government journalist who accused his party of collaborating with a terrorist organization to set wildfires currently sweeping across the country.

Since last Wednesday, Turkey has been battling wildfires on the country’s western and southern coasts, which have so far claimed the lives of eight people. The flames have been fueled by scorching summer temperatures and conditions that experts say have been worsened by climate change.

Although the exact cause of the fires has not yet been determined by the authorities, journalist İbrahim Karagül, the former editor-in-chief of the pro-government Yeni Şafak daily, on Twitter accused the CHP of collaborating with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, to set the fires.

Karagül, who still writes columns for Yeni Şafak, deleted his tweet after facing a backlash from social media users who accused him of lying.

In his tweet Karagül also said Kılıçdaroğlu was a “national security problem,” adding that the “alliance” between the PKK and the CHP was a “dirty” one.

Kılıçdaroğlu filed the lawsuit at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’S Office seeking TL 100,000 ($12,000) in non-pecuniary damages from Karagül on charges of libel, insult and fomenting hatred and enmity among the people, according to a statement from Kılıçdaroğlu lawyer Celal Çelik on Monday.

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