Erdoğan to withdraw cases opened against Turkey’s opposition leaders
ANKARA – Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has decided to withdraw all court cases he previously opened against the chairs of opposition parties, as tentative signs of solidarity among rival political factions continue after the recent failed coup attempt.
Speaking to Reuters, presidential sources have said Erdoğan has moved to launch a new process after opposition parties quickly took a clear stance against the coup initiative by factions within the military on July 15.
“As a result, he is withdrawing all cases opened against opposition leaders in a show of solidarity between the political parties,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Erdoğan’s move came after he hosted the leaders of three parties represented at parliament, excluding the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leaders, at the Presidential Palace on July 25.
Sources from the office of the president said before the meeting that Erdoğan would invite the three party leaders over their united stance against the coup attempt and also listen to their views on ongoing measures against supporters of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen within the state.
According to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code, it is a criminal offense to insult the president. The offense carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.
Since being elected president in Turkey’s first public presidential elections in 2014, many – including celebrities, journalists and high school students – have faced charges for “insulting” Erdoğan.
Criminal complaints regarding the offense have also been filed against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
After he was elected as prime minister for his third term back in 2011, Erdoğan similarly withdrew insult cases he had earlier opened against Kılıçdaroğlu and Bahçeli for their alleged offenses against him during the election campaign period.