Opposition MP faces lawsuit from AKP for describing it as ‘criminal organization’

Ahmet Şık

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has filed a lawsuit against opposition lawmaker Ahmet Şık for “attacking the prestige of the party” in recent remarks, saying that “the AKP will be shut down for being a criminal organization” should they lose power in the 2023 elections, Turkish Minute reported.

The lawsuit seeking TL 100,000 ($5,500) in damages was filed against Şık, a deputy from the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP), by AKP lawyers Muammer Cemaloğlu and Burhanettin Sevencan.

The lawyers said in the petition that the MP “attacked the AKP’s prestige” in his remarks during an interview on a digital news channel that included “unacceptable accusations and slanders made against the AKP,” according to Turkish media reports.

Speaking to journalist Ruşen Çakır on the Medyascope news channel, Şık on Tuesday said the governing AKP would be closed and some of its members prosecuted following the elections next year.

“We will not leave the opposition to the AKP or [its ally] the MHP [ Nationalist Movement Party]. They will be a mess. All of them will be tried for membership in a criminal organization,” he said, adding, “Let the clean … ones stay in parliament. But the AKP will be closed down because of this.”

“The AKP will be shut down for being a criminal organization. [People] will say it’s a criminal organization disguised as a political party,” Şık said.

In the last general election held in June 2018, the AKP garnered a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent. However, public surveys have increasingly been showing the party’s public support to be slipping.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose ruling AKP has been in power as a single-party government since 2002, was elected president in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. His election in 2018 was under a presidential system as Turkey switched from a parliamentary to a presidential system of governance with a public referendum in 2017.

Under the presidential system, Erdoğan is accused by critics of establishing one-man rule in the country, engaging in massive corruption and using the state’s resources for the benefit of his family and cronies while the Turkish people are overwhelmed by the increasing cost of living caused by the depreciation of the Turkish lira and a record level of inflation at nearly 80 percent.

Turkey was shaken by two corruption investigations implicating then-prime minister and current president Erdoğan’s inner circle that became public Dec.17-25, 2013. Erdoğan’s AKP government subsequently suppressed the scandal by creating special criminal courts headed by a single judge, thanks to the AKP’s parliamentary majority.

These judges then jailed all the police and prosecutors who had conducted the 2013 corruption investigations, while Erdoğan and his family members who were implicated have never appeared in court.

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