Gov’t-linked security firm files lawsuit against newspaper claiming 'attack on reputation'

A Turkish private security firm with close ties to the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against Evrensel newspaper and a journalist from the daily on charges of damage to its commercial reputation.

The lawsuit follows an article from Evrensel’s Yusuf Karadaş, which refers to SADAT as a “shady government organization” specializing in counter-guerrilla operations, while making claims about the company’s founder, brigadier general Adnan Tanrıverdi, Evrensel reported on Wednesday.

Tanriverdi served as an advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before being forced to resign in 2020, following controversial religious remarks. His firm has been linked to the deployment of Syrian mercenaries in conflicts including Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, where Turkey backed Azerbaijan in the 2020 clashes with Armenia over the disputed territory.

Karadaş’s “provocative” article, dated October 19, 2021, contains an “attack against the company's personal rights," Evrensel cited the lawsuit submitted to an Istanbul penal court as saying. 

SADAT is seeking  25,000 lira ($1,711) in non-pecuniary damages, according to the newspaper.

The lawsuit arrives as an omnibus bill submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to parliament in March seeks up to three years in jail over news reports which are found to be "undermining a company's reputation." 

The AKP withdrew the law for review earlier this month, following backlash from the opposition for seeking to  protect companies that have close links to Ankara, Bianet news site reported.

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