Turkey’s Erdogan sues Dutch right-wing politician over insults

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Ersin Tatar, the newly elected president of Turkish Cyprus, inspect a military honor guard, in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (AP Photo)
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Updated 27 October 2020

Turkey’s Erdogan sues Dutch right-wing politician over insults

  • Wilders, who leads the largest opposition party in the Dutch parliament, shrugged off the Turkish criminal complaint and described Erdogan as a “loser”
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the move against Wilders unacceptable and said his government would raise the issue with Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is suing Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders after the right-wing politician posted a series of tweets against the Turkish leader, including one that described him as a “terrorist.”

The state-run Anadolu Agency said Erdogan’s lawyer on Tuesday filed a criminal complaint against Wilders at the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office for “insulting the president” — a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in prison.

Wilders posted a cartoon depicting Erdogan wearing a bomb-resembling hat on his head, with the comment: “terrorist.”

Wilders continued posting tweets targeting Erdogan this week amid a growing quarrel between Turkey and European countries sparked by Erdogan’s sharp comments against French President Emmanuel Macron, including remarks questioning Macron’s mental health.




PVV leader Geert Wilders at the House of Representatives in The Hague, The Netherlands, October 27, 2020. (AFP)

Erdogan has persistently sued people for alleged insults since he took office as president in 2014. Thousands have been convicted. More than 29,000 people were prosecuted on charges of insulting Erdogan last year, according to the Birgun newspaper.

The complaint against Wilders, whose political career has been based largely on his strident right-wing rhetoric, accused him of using language “insulting the honor and dignity of our president and of targeting Erdogan’s personality, dignity and reputation,” according to Anadolu.

Wilders, who leads the largest opposition party in the Dutch parliament, shrugged off the Turkish criminal complaint and described Erdogan as a “loser.” Wilders has lived under tight security for 16 years due to death threats.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the move against Wilders unacceptable and said his government would raise the issue with Turkey.

“In the Netherlands, we consider freedom of expression as the highest good. And cartoons are part of that, including cartoons of politicians,” Rutte told reporters in parliament.

He added that a legal case “against a Dutch politician that could possibly even lead to a curtailment of freedom of expression is not acceptable.”

On Monday, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper, which is close to Erdogan, printed pictures of Wilders and Macron, with the headline: “the two faces of hatred and racism in Europe.”


Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

Updated 25 min 49 sec ago

Turkey, Russia seal deal for Karabakh ‘peacekeeping center’

  • The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire
  • Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed

ANKARA: Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping center, Ankara’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered cease-fire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Technical details for setting up the joint center were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defense ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.
The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed more than 1,400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.
The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to “establish a joint center with Russia and to carry out the center’s activities.”
The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Russia has said repeatedly that Turkey will have no troops on the ground under the truce deal’s terms.