Erdoğan sues Kabaş, demanding compensation
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lawyer has filed a lawsuit against journalist Sedef Kabaş and an executive of a private broadcaster, demanding 250,000 Turkish Liras ($18,400) in immaterial compensation.
Kabaş was arrested last month for insulting the president following her comments about Erdoğan aired on Tele 1 broadcaster on Jan. 14.
Erdoğan’s lawyer, Ahmet Özel, said in a petition he filed with the court that Fırat Sakar, chair of the executive board of the TV channel, should also be held responsible due to the respective article of the press law.
“Kabaş’s comments mounted to grave insult, beyond the limits of tolerance and included insults and made comments publicly which degraded and portaged [the president] as a polarizing figure,” he added.
Freedom of expression is protected by laws, however, the comments made on the TV show violated Erdoğan’s rights and overstepped the boundaries of freedom of expression, the lawyer added.
The civil court of first instance in Istanbul, which received the petition, ruled that the defendants should be given two weeks to prepare their responses to the claims and that officials will inquire about the socio-economic conditions of the defendants.
When she appeared in court last month, Kabaş said she had no intention to “insult the president.”
The judge ruled for Kabaş’s arrest, noting that there was a “high risk” that she could flee.
Her comments drew strong criticism from senior government officials and figures from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as from Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).