President Erdoğan files complaint against columnist over ‘coup’ row
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against columnist Ragıp Zarakolu, managing directors of daily Evrensel and news site artıgerçek, over an opinion piece which he said was “touting a coup.”
The complaint was filed by Erdoğan’s lawyer Ahmet Özel to the Istanbul’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office, demanding penalty for the suspects over “crimes they openly committed against Republic of Turkey’s constitutional order and the President.”
The complaint said that the article, titled “There is no escape from ill fortune,” “compared” President Erdoğan to late Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, and was written based on “ideology.”
“The so-called article, which is full of anti-democratic expectations, created enormous anger among the public [and] highlighted a ‘longing and love for coup[s]’,” the complaint said.
“An overt coup and execution threat were made against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This publishing and these threats also aim to demotivate Mr. President and all our nation during this global pandemic by targeting our country’s fight, carried out by the state and the nation, and to break public peace by creating fear and dispute,” it said.
Earlier, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also filed a criminal complaint against Zarakolu’s article, which he said were “threats of a coup and execution.”
“A criminal complaint has been filed by Communications Director Fahrettin Altun against Ragıp Zarakolu and Artı Media, over the article ‘There is no escape from ill fortune,’ which included threats of a coup d’état and execution by using a photo of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the late Prime Minister Adnan Menderes [next to each other],” a statement by the directorate said.
The complaint was filed by Altun’s lawyer Sezgin Tunç, over grounds that Altun had a “responsibility for his country, nation and President Erdoğan.”
The complaint’s full text also underlined that the suspects “will not be able to be successful in their efforts” yet a criminal case against them need to be opened and should receive punishments on behalf of the public which was “harmed” by “these offenses.”
Menderes, leader of the now-defunct Democrat Party (DP) and Turkey’s first democratically-elected prime minister, was hung by the military junta after the 1960 coup d’état, along with two other cabinet members, Fatin Rüştü Zorlu and Hasan Polatkan.
In 1990, the Turkish government said it regretted the execution of Menderes, and his grave in Istanbul was turned into a mausoleum.