Erdoğan sues German lawmaker for likening him to ‘sewer rat’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against a German lawmaker for referring to him as a “sewer rat,” Bianet news site reported on Friday, citing the Turkish leader’s lawyer.

Mustafa Kaplan, Erdoğan’s lawyer, filed a criminal complaint for slander and libel against Wolfgang Kubicki of Germany’s governing Free Democratic Party, on behalf of his client, the site said.

Kubicki made the comment during an election campaign rally in a bid to draw attention to a rise in the number of illegal migrants moving from Turkey along the “Balkan route” toward Germany, Reuters reported.

The German lawmaker told the agency considered sewer rats to be “small, cute, but also clever and devious creatures,” that sometimes appear as protagonists in children's stories.

The Free Democratic Party lawmaker told German news agency dpa that he was unconcerned about the lawsuit.

The Turkish leader previously won a case in Germany forbidding comedian Jan Boehmermann from repeating parts of a satirical poem that mocks Erdoğan.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the German ambassador to Ankara over Kubicki’s remarks on Erdoğan, Artı Gerçek news site reported.

According to Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), insulting the president is a crime and carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Investigations and convictions under Article 299 have catapulted since Erdoğan became president in 2014. Lawsuits over the crime of insulting the president have increased by 9,000 percent since 2010, according to a 2021 report based on Justice Ministry data.

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