Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed criminal complaints against two lawmakers of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for “insulting” him, the daily Milliyet has reported.
Filed by Erdogan’s lawyer to the Chief Prosecutor’s office in the Turkish capital Ankara, the petition argued that the comments by the CHP lawmakers, Engin Ozkoc and Aykut Erdogdu, on Tele1 broadcaster on January 14 “violated personal rights and reached the level of slander and insult.”
Their remarks “exceeded the limits of freedom of expression,” said the petition, calling for a public lawsuit.
Officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) also filed criminal complaints against the two CHP lawmakers, Xinhua news agency reported.
On January 22, Turkish journalist Sedef Kabas was arrested for “insulting the President” with her remarks on the same show attended by Ozkoc and Erdogdu.
“There is a very famous proverb saying that a crowned head becomes wiser. But we see that it is not true,” Kabas said on live television, adding that “a bull does not become king just by entering the palace, but the palace becomes a barn.”
A week later, the Turkish journalist posted the remarks on her Twitter and Instagram accounts which prompted her detention.
Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK), fined Tele1 for Kabas’ remarks and suspended the program.
“Politics, opposition and journalism all have morals. A so-called journalist is blatantly insulting our President on a television channel with no goal other than spreading hatred,” Fahrettin Altun, the Presidential Communications Director, tweeted on January 21.