Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed criminal complaints against two main opposition party politicians, accusing them of committing the crime of insulting the president during a TV program that led to the arrest of a journalist, the Birgün daily reported.
Erdoğan filed the complaints against Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group chairman Engin Özkoç and İstanbul lawmaker Aykut Erdoğdu, who were among the guests of the “Democracy Arena” program on the TELE1 TV station on Jan. 14 along with well-known TV journalist Sedef Kabaş.
Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın filed the complaints at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on the grounds that the politicians went beyond the limits of freedom of expression during the program and attacked Erdoğan’s personality with slander and insults.
Along with Kabaş, the politicians criticized Erdoğan on a wide range of issues, from his management of the economy and foreign policy to his government’s suppression of freedom of expression.
An investigation was launched into Kabaş on allegations of insulting the president last Friday after she quoted a Circassian proverb during the program on TELE1 station while commenting on Erdoğan’s years-long performance as a president.
“When an [ox] enters a palace, it doesn’t become a king. [However], that palace becomes a barn,” said the journalist.
Police raided her house in the Sarıyer district of İstanbul in the early hours of Saturday and detained her. She was arrested after appearing in court the same day.
The crime of insulting the president carries a jail sentence of one to four years in Turkey.
Erdoğan has repeatedly filed complaints for alleged insult since he took office as president in 2014. Thousands have been convicted on charges of insulting the president.