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Turkish opposition leader ordered to pay damages to Erdoğan for calling him a ‘thief’

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Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has been ordered to pay non-pecuniary damages to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan due to his remarks calling the president a “pharaoh” and a “thief,” the TR24 news website reported.

An Ankara court on Thursday ordered Kılıçdaroğlu to pay TL 80,00 ($7,000) to Erdoğan in non-pecuniary damages on the grounds that Kılıçdaroğlu insulted Erdoğan in speeches delivered at the Turkish Parliament in January 2021.

Erdoğan filed a TL 250,000 lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu, who had referred to him as a “pharaoh” and a “thief” and accused him of siphoning money from the treasury and serving the interest of usurers.

Erdoğan’s lawyer claimed in his petition that Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks exceeded the limits of free speech and damaged the honor and dignity of his client.

The Turkish president, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been ruling Turkey as a single party government since 2002, is frequently accused of wasting taxpayers’ money and making his cronies rich through the use of public resources at a time of increased poverty among Turks.

Critics also accuse Erdoğan of establishing one-man rule in the country by jailing his critics and silencing opposition media.

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