Deputy chair of Turkey’s main opposition CHP: Erdoğan is a fascist dictator

Bülent Tezcan, deputy chairman and spokesperson of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Monday said Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was a “fascist dictator,” the DHA news agency reported.

“I do not know if [Süleymanpaşa district] Mayor Ekrem [Eşkinat] said that or not. But I am saying this in Tekirdağ Square: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a fascist dictator. I am saying this in a way that they understand. [He] is a genuine dictator, in fact,” said Tezcan during a speech in Tekirdağ.

Tezcan visited Tekirdağ to show his support for Mayor Eşkinat, who was released by a court last week on judicial probation and under a travel ban, in a case in which he was accused of insulting Erdoğan by saying “fascist, dictator.”

The CHP deputy chairman underlined that they would not allow President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to oppress CHP mayors. “The mayors who were elected by the people are not your whipping boys,” he said.

Erdoğan’s lawyers have filed a criminal complaint against CHP deputy chairman and spokesperson Tezcan, after he called Erdoğan “a fascist dictator” and Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office filed an indictment against Tezcan on Tuesday after Erdoğan’s lawyers issued a complaint. “We have filed a legal petition to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office against Bülent Tezcan based on the offence of insulting the president,” lawyer Hüseyin Aydın posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday.

Erdoğan’s Spokesman İbrahin Kalın had reacted through his official Twitter account, saying legal action would be taken. “Bülent Tezcan’s hate speech is a disgrace for the main opposition party. It is not an example of politics, it is an example of animosity to the will of the people. A legal path will be pursued,” Kalın posted on Monday.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ had also described Tezcan’s words as “immoral.” “It is grave immorality, vulgar and rude. There is a grave sense of animosity there. The only fascist party in Turkey is the CHP,” Bozdağ said on Monday after a cabinet meeting.

Scores of people in Turkey have been detained or arrested or are under investigation on allegations of insulting Erdoğan. As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on suspicion of terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.

A total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data also showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016. (SCF with

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