Turkey’s main opposition leader sells home to pay record fine for allegedly defaming Erdoğan

Turkey's autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition CHP's leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, sold one of his houses in order to pay accumulated fines for allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a report on Sunday by online news outlet T24.

Erdoğan has thus far filed 29 complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu for insulting him, 12 of which have been settled and require that the CHP leader pay damages totaling 870,000 Turkish lira ($155,000).

In one case that was concluded in June, an İstanbul court ordered Kılıçdaroğlu to pay damages in the amount of 142,000 Turkish lira due to a complaint filed by Erdoğan after Kılıçdaroğlu alleged that the president and his relatives had funds in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

The CHP leader sold his summer home in Burhaniye, a coastal town in the Aegean region, for 500,000 Turkish lira, T24 said, using the money to pay the fines levied from lawsuits filed by Erdoğan in addition to financing the wedding of his son Kerem Kılıçdaroğlu in September.

Insulting the president is subject to criminal charges under Turkish law, with Erdoğan’s lawyers filing more than 1,800 lawsuits against people, including schoolchildren and celebrities.

The slightest criticism is considered an insult, and there has been a rise in the number of cases in which people inform on others claiming that they insulted the president, the government or government officials. According to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) insulting the president carries a sentence of between one and four years. (SCF with Ahval)

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