Defense Minister Akar files complaint against CHP MP Özel

Defense Minister Akar files complaint against CHP MP Özel

Defense Minister Akar files complaint against CHP MP Özel

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has filed a criminal complaint against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) group deputy chair Özgür Özel, demanding 500,000 Turkish Liras (around $95,000) in compensation from him following a heated debate during budget talks in parliament on Dec. 18.

Akar has accused Özel of “insulting a public officer,” “slandering,” and “belittling the Turkish nation, the Turkish state and public institutions” in a petition submitted to the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The complaint said Özel used expressions mounting to “gross insults and slanders” against Akar in the general assembly of the parliament on Dec. 18.

“As the CHP, we have respect for senior officials. But I wish that you had not been a chief of general staff like this,” Özel had said during the debate, blaming the minister, who was once chief of general staff, for not backing his military colleagues arrested on coup charges a few years ago and his visits in 2017 to journalist Mehtap Yılmaz and author Nuri Pakdil, who are known for making controversial remarks on modern Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish army.

Özel also said the minister’s former army colleagues jailed in Hasdal Prison over coup cases accused him of not visiting them in jail.

“You handed the barracks over to the coup plotters,” Özel said, recalling the 2016 coup attempt, when Akar, then the army chief, was held by putschists during the night of July 15, 2016.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also weighed in, saying “What’s been done to our defense minister is unacceptable. We have to teach them a lesson at the judiciary. First damages, then a sentence,” Erdoğan said during a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) group meeting in parliament on Dec. 25.

“He is threatening me with filing a lawsuit and serving a sentence. Let’s see if you can! If you are powerful enough, open the lawsuit. We are not afraid of you,” Özel said on Dec. 25 in response to the president.