Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a defamation lawsuit against TV journalist Sedef Kabaş, seeking TL 250,000 ($18,000) in non-pecuniary damages for her allegedly insulting remarks targeting him, the journalist’s lawyer announced on Tuesday.
Kabaş was detained during a midnight police raid in İstanbul on Jan. 22 following comments she made about Erdoğan on a TV program aired on TELE1 on Jan. 14.
“While Sedef Kabaş was waiting for an indictment in jail, she was notified today about a TL 250,000 defamation lawsuit filed by Erdoğan against her,” Kabaş’s lawyer, Uğur Poyraz, announced on Twitter.
Commenting on Erdoğan’s years-long performance as president during the television program, Kabaş said, quoting a Circassian proverb, “When an [ox] enters a palace, it doesn’t become a king. [However], that palace becomes a barn.”
Kabaş also posted the proverb on Twitter, which prompted an investigation into her on charges of insulting the president.
The crime of insulting the president carries a jail sentence of one to four years in Turkey.
Kabaş recently said through her lawyer that she was in jail for a crime for which she would not even serve one day if convicted because sentences are suspended for first offenses of insulting the president.
Erdoğan frequently sues or files defamation lawsuits against opposition politicians or journalists criticizing him or his government’s policies.