Court refuses Erdoğan’s appeal for monetary compensation by main opposition leader
Mesut Hasan BENLİ - ANKARA
AA photoA court in Ankara has refused an appeal for payment of compensation to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, citing the political parties’ right to oppose.
Erdoğan previously took Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to the court for remarks in which he said, “The murderer of 51 people in Reyhanlı is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” and asked for payment of 1 million Turkish Liras.
In its refusal, the court referred to earlier rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
In its justified ruling, the court said that as Kılıçdaroğlu is the leader of main opposition party in Turkey, his remarks should be considered as the “right of opposition.”
In 2013, speaking at a joint news conference with the European Parliament’s Hannes Swoboda in Brussels, the CHP leader had called the prime minister the “murderer” of the 51 people who died in the Syria-linked Reyhanlı bombings.
A main opposition party leader has the responsibility to acknowledge the publicity about incidents at least as much government has, the court said in its reasoning, adding that both the ruling and opposition parties consistently criticize each other.
“In nature of the politics, these criticisms can sometimes be harsh and offense,” said the court, adding that party members should tolerate these criticisms.
Particularly, those who have the power should be more open and tolerant to criticisms they face, said the ruling’s justification.
Freedom of expression should apply not only on favorable views, but to opinions and stories that disturb the state and some people, as this is necessity of democratic society, rule and pluralism, said the court.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks echoed the common criticism that the government under Erdoğan could not pursue a successful Syrian policy and saw killings of these people as the outcome of these policies.