Turkey court drops Erdogan case against MP
Iran Press TV
Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:56AM
A court in Turkey has dismissed a legal appeal by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against an opposition leader who had called him a "thief" back in 2014.
Erdogan's attorneys were seeking damages in the amount of 200,000 Turkish lire ($66,000) from Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
The case dates back to 2014 when Erdogan's cabinet ministers and their relatives were mired in a major corruption scandal. Kilicdaroglu had accused Erdogan, then a prime minister, of being a "prime thief."
Dropping the lawsuit in Ankara's 7th Civil Court of First Instance, Judge Leyla Kundakci said in a ruling, "Politics should not be turned into such environment. They are setting a bad example for our children."
Erdogan's lawyers said, "The attack, which directly targeted his personal rights, is heavy and unfair. 'Prime thief' and 'thief' are concrete criminal charges that cannot be accepted within freedom of expression and the right to political criticism."
Defense attorneys for the CHP leader, however, said Kilicdaroglu was merely expressing his opinion and reacting to the government corruption scandal, during which probes were launched against 53 suspects.
Last week, Kilicdaroglu described Erdogan as "a dictator," a day after he called on prosecutors to launch a probe against those academics who had signed a declaration criticizing military action in the country's mainly Kurdish southeast. According to media reports, 27 of the signatories were briefly detained.
Insulting the president is considered a crime in Turkey and punishable by as much as four years in prison.
CHP is Turkey's largest opposition party with 134 seats in the 550-member parliament, and has been led by Kilicdaroglu since May 2010.
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