Turkish prosecutor files summary of proceedings against main opposition leader

Turkish prosecutor files summary of proceedings against main opposition leader

Turkish prosecutor files summary of proceedings against main opposition leader

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A Turkish prosecutor has filed a summary of proceeding against the country’s main opposition leader on charges of “insulting the president” in his public speeches and through messages he shared on social media.

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office drafted a summary of proceedings over main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on the basis of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which states: “A person who defames the president of the Republic [of Turkey] shall be imprisoned for a term of one to four years and the penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one-sixth if the offence is committed publicly and by one-third if it is committed by way of press and media.”

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office sent the summary to the Justice Ministry in order to be conveyed to parliament, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Feb. 26, noting two of Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent speeches and his Twitter postings were subject to the charges.

According to private broadcaster CNN Türk, the CHP leader said the prosecutor who filed the summary of proceedings was "not complying with the duties of a prosecutor.”

Kılıçdaroğlu called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a “sham dictator” during a speech at the Jan. 16 CHP congress, as well as during a weekly address to his party deputies three days later and in postings the same day. 

“Would I call someone who admires [Adolph] Hitler, has polarized society and has turned the country into an inferno a peace envoy instead of a sham dictator?” Kılıçdaroğlu wrote on Twitter. 

In January, the office in charge of investigating press crimes at the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation against Kılıçdaroğlu on charges of “openly insulting the president,” while Erdoğan himself opened a lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu, demanding 100,000 Turkish Liras, or roughly $34,000, in compensation.

“This is of course in the parliament’s discretion,” Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told reporters on Feb. 26, referring to parliament’s authority to lift Kılıçdaroğlu’s parliamentary immunity in order to pave the way for his prosecution.

“Making politics based on lying, defamation and insults or attempting to present such acts as freedom of the press is not something that can be accepted,” Kalın said in response to questions at a press conference.

The number of legal complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu for “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan” recently reached some 10,000.

The Parliamentary Crimes Department of the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office continues to receive complaints on the matter, according to data gathered by Anadolu Agency. Some 5,600 of the complaints were placed in Ankara, while those in other provinces were also directed to the capital, the agency reported earlier this week.

The complaints have mainly come from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies, party members and some civil society organizations, it added.