Erdoğan files lawsuit against opposition lawmaker who called him a 'dictator'

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday filed a lawsuit against the main opposition Republican People’s Party's (CHP) lawmaker Özgür Özel over allegedly insulting the Turkish leader, T24 news site reported.

The lawsuit follows a parliamentary speech delivered by Özel last week, in which he referred to the Turkish president a “poor excuse for a dictator.” 

"Our people will send back this Franco wanna be, poor excuse for a dictator in the next polls...’’ the CHP group deputy chair said on Friday.

Erdoğan is suing the opposition figure, known for his frequent vocal criticism of the government, for 250,000 liras ($32,540) in non-pecuniary damages on the grounds that Özel insulted him.

The petition submitted by Erdoğan’s lawyers accused Özel of “adopting a campaign’’ launched by the Gülen movement, an outlawed religious group accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt, to create a “perception of Erdoğan as a dictator.''

The Turkish Penal Code (TCK) criminalises insulting the president, which carries a prison term of up to four years. The sentence can be increased if the insult is expressed in the public sphere.

Investigations and convictions over insulting the president have skyrocketed since Erdoğan stepped into office as president in 2014.
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