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Erdoğan sues Kılıçdaroğlu for TL 1 mln over claims of fleeing Turkey

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over recent claims that the president and his close circle are planning to flee the country to avoid prosecution when the government changes, local media reported on Friday.

Kılıçdaoğlu claimed earlier this week that Erdoğan and people in his close circle, including his family members, are planning to flee Turkey and that 1 billion lira ($61.6 million) had been transferred to the United States through the pro-government Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) and the Ensar Foundation to help to obtain residence and work permits in the US.

The TÜRGEV and Ensar foundations jointly established the Turken Foundation Inc., and according to documents shared by the CHP’s US representative Yurter Özcan, a total of $61.6 million was transferred from the TÜRGEV and Ensar foundations to the Turken Foundation between 2014 and 2020.

“Your son Bilal Erdoğan is the one who transferred the money through these foundations. [And] on the receiving end of the money is your daughter Esra Albayrak. As brother and sister, they manage the foundations, [and] transfer money to each other. TURKEN is a front foundation, [and] its purpose is to transfer wealth and people to the US,” the CHP leader said in a series of tweets on Friday, giving the names of Erdoğan’s children for the first time while explaining their involvement in the money transfers.

The lawsuit filed by Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın against Kılıçdaroğlu at the Ankara Civil Court of First Instance claims that the opposition leader’s allegations were “totally unrealistic” and constituted “a serious attack” on the president’s personal rights.

Meanwhile, Turkish media on Friday reported that the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, was preparing to impose a fine on the pro-opposition Tele1, Halk TV and KRT TV stations for broadcasting a video posted on Twitter by Kılıçdaroğlu earlier this week in which he gave details about his allegations, citing a RTÜK member.

RTÜK member İlhan Taşçı from the CHP said in a series of tweets on Friday that the decision to impose a fine on the three TV stations for broadcasting the allegations made by the CHP leader, due to complaints by the TÜRGEV and Ensar foundations, would be announced on Monday.

“RTÜK considers it a crime to broadcast the statements of Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party! The justification is that they were ‘uncorroborated’ [allegations]! The TV channels are to be fined for this … broadcasts that are newsworthy all over the world,” Taşçı said.

Erdoğan is accused by critics of establishing one-man rule in the country, engaging in massive corruption and using the state’s resources for the benefit of his family and cronies while the Turkish people are overwhelmed by the increasing cost of living caused by the depreciation of the Turkish lira and a record level of inflation at around 70 percent.

Public surveys show Erdoğan and his election ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), losing considerable public support.

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