First Published: 2017-12-06

Turkey probes opposition chief for insulting President
Lawyer files complaint saying Kemal Kilicdaroglu insulted Erdogan, who says opposition CHP has become "party of treason".
Middle East Online

Similar investigation came about in 2016 after Kilicdaroglu repeatedly called Erdogan a "tinpot dictator".

ANKARA - Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday launched an investigation into the main opposition party leader on accusations of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media reported.

The Ankara chief prosecutor's office began the probe after the president's lawyer Huseyin Aydin filed a complaint saying Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu insulted Erdogan on Tuesday, state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

The accusations are punishable by up to four years in prison.

In the complaint shared by Aydin on Twitter, the lawyer quoted extracts from a speech by Kilicdaroglu in which he said Erdogan had not left Turkey "in peace".

"If you are searching for a traitor to the people, that person at the top is sitting in the palace," Kilicdaroglu said in the speech in Ankara.

The CHP chief accused Erdogan of "ignoring corruption" and said he would be brought to account for his mistakes, remarks which were also quoted by Aydin in his complaint.

He said that Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) had in April 2013 warned Erdogan that Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab was breaking US law and this could damage Turkey.

Zarrab, once close to the government and Erdogan, is now testifying as a star witness in a potentially explosive New York trial against a Turkish banker. Zarrab implicated the president in a scheme to subvert US sanctions against Iran.

- Thousands prosecuted -

The complaint against Kilicdaroglu comes after Erdogan last month sued him over claims that members of the president's family, including his brother, transferred around $15 million to Bellway Limited, based in the low-tax British Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man.

Waving documents in parliament, Kilicdaroglu said he had evidence of alleged transfers made by five individuals including Erdogan's son, Ahmet Burak Erdogan, between 2011 and 2012 to the company.

But Erdogan was quick to denounce the allegations as "lies" and has repeatedly railed against the CHP as no longer the main opposition but "the party of treason".

The same prosecutor launched a probe into Kilicdaroglu for insulting Erdogan after he called him a "fascist dictator" in October.

A similar investigation came about in 2016 against Kilicdaroglu after he repeatedly called Erdogan a "tinpot dictator".

Thousands of Turks have been prosecuted in recent years for allegedly insulting Erdogan but most of the complaints have not seen people jailed.

The CHP has repeatedly denounced an authoritarian drift under Erdogan, especially since last year's failed coup and a subsequent purge criticised by Western allies.

 

Pentagon skeptical about Russia's Syria pullout claims

Senior Saudi prince blasts Trump's "opportunistic" Jerusalem move

Kuwait ruler’s son named defence minister

EU accused of complicity in Libya migrant rights violations

Saudi Arabia lifts decades-long ban on cinemas

Israeli sentenced to four years for arson attack on church

Erdogan risks sabotaging fragile relations with Israel

6.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Iran

Two Gazans killed by Israeli ‘strike’, Israel denies claim

French FM accuses Iran of carving out ‘axis’ of influence

Somali journalist killed in front of children

Over 170 dead after South Sudan rival cattle herders clash

Russia begins partial withdrawal from Syria

Russia weary of returning IS jihadists before World Cup, election

EU says Syria war ‘ongoing’ despite Russia pullout

Istanbul nightclub gunman refuses to testify

Integrating Syrians in Turkey carries implications

US opinion views Muslims and Arabs more favourably but political affiliation makes a difference

Iranian conservative protesters say Trump hastening end of Israel

Jordan referred to UN for failing to arrest Sudanese president

Turkey demands life for journalists in coup bid trial

Netanyahu expects EU to follow suit on Jerusalem

Putin orders withdrawal of ‘significant’ amount of troops from Syria

Putin to meet with Sisi in Cairo

GCC at a critical juncture

Houthi rebels tighten grip on Sanaa after Saleh’s assassination

Israel’s Syrian air strikes risk renewing escalation as Iran expands presence in Golan

Qatar to acquire 24 Typhoon fighters from UK

Bahraini civil society group criticised after Israel visit

Israel PM faces renewed pressure in Europe

Palestinian stabs Israeli guard in ‘terrorist’ attack

UAE’s Sheikh Mohammed says US Jerusalem decision could help terrorists

Fateh encourages more protests, refuses to meet Pence

Chinese electric carmaker to open Morocco factory

Iraqi victory over IS remains fragile

Morocco’s renewed ties with South Africa likely to consolidate support for Western Sahara stance

Lebanese security forces fire tear gas at protestors

Syria’s justice system: ‘working without a written law'

Egypt revives controversial desert capital project

Iran sentences fugitive ex-bank chief to jail

Iraq announces 'end of the war against Daesh'

Israeli air strike kills 2 in Gaza

UK foreign minister in Iran to push for Briton's release

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to lead Muslim response on Jerusalem

Iraqi Christians celebrate in town retaken from IS