CHP deputy to pay Erdoğan compensation for ‘insult’

CHP deputy to pay Erdoğan compensation for ‘insult’

CHP deputy to pay Erdoğan compensation for ‘insult’

Cihan Photo

A Turkish local court has ordered a member of the main opposition party to pay compensation to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over charges of “weighty insult and slandering.”

Erdoğan sued Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul deputy, Eren Erdem, due to his remarks delivered in the aftermath of a July 20 suicide bomb attack that killed 34 socialist activists on July 20, 2015, at the Amara Cultural Center in the southeastern district of Suruç. The attack was blamed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

On March 7, the 24th Ankara Civil Court of First Instance ordered Erdem to pay 7,000 liras to Erdoğan for non-pecuniary damages, as Erdem’s lawyers argued that their client has used his right to criticize.

In their petition, Erdoğan’s lawyers argued that Erdem “impeached” their client and the Republic of Turkey for “being on the same line and having the same mentality with terror and terrorists, and aiding, abetting and nourishing terror” and asked for the compensation of 10,000 liras.

Last week, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the number of cases awaiting prosecution for “insulting” Erdoğan has reached 1,845.

Since being elected president in Turkey’s first public presidential elections in 2014, many people - including celebrities, journalists and high school students – have faced charges for “insulting” Erdoğan. Recently, opposition party leaders and members have joined the hundreds of people being tried for insulting the president. Criminal complaints against CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş were also filed recently.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail, but the law had previously been invoked rarely. Critics accuse Erdoğan of intolerance and say he is using the law to stifle dissent.