Court orders opposition politician to pay $7,000 in damages to Erdoğan for insult

Canan Kaftancıoğlu

A politician from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has been ordered by a Turkish court to pay damages in the amount of TL 56,000 ($6,800) to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on for insulting him on social media, Turkish Minute reported on Thursday, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Erdoğan sued CHP İstanbul provincial branch president Canan Kaftancıoğlu, claiming that she used insulting remarks against Erdoğan on her social media account.

An İstanbul court on Thursday ruled in favor of Erdoğan, who sues thousands of people for insult since insulting the president is a crime under Turkish law. Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are criticized for taking even the slightest criticism as an insult and initiating legal proceedings against people.

Kaftancıoğlu’s lawyer told the court on Thursday that his client had to intention to insult the president and that her remarks included justified criticism of him.

Regarded as one of the architects of the CHP’s municipal election victory in İstanbul in 2019, which ended Erdoğan’s long-running rule in the city and dealt a significant blow to his ruling party, Kaftancıoğlu was sentenced to nine years in prison for allegedly insulting Erdoğan and spreading terrorist propaganda in the same year. She is free pending appeal.

Along with rights activist Şebnem Korur Fincancı and opposition İYİ (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener, Kaftancıoğlu was in February listed by French daily Le Monde as one of the three most powerful women in Turkey — opponents of the “Islamo-conservative” Erdoğan who pose a challenge to his “patriarchal model.”

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