Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a lawsuit against pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ahmet Şık for allegedly insulting the party during a speech he delivered on July 23 when parliament was debating a controversial anti-terror bill.
The AKP is seeking damages in the amount of TL 100,000 ($27,580) from Şık. The AKP’s lawyers, Burhanettin Sevencan and Muammer Cemaloğlu, argued in the petition to sue that Şık’s speech was out of context and was not related to the bill discussed in parliament.
“Şık made illogical, unconscionable and totally false accusations against the AKP,” the lawyers said in the petition. “His statements included elements amounting to gross insult,” they added, citing excerpts from Şık’s speech. “His accusations directed at the AKP were totally ungrounded and he incited hatred and animosity among the public through those accusations,” the lawyers argued.
Şık’s speech stirred a debate between ruling and opposition lawmakers, leading him to be excluded from the next two sessions in parliament on the grounds of “insulting lawmakers.”
Şık fiercely criticized the bill, stating that the articles were a continuation of a recently terminated state of emergency, accusing the ruling party of pursuing its interests by abusing democratic powers in a bid to “cement and institutionalize its oppressive regime.” When Şık used the words “’immorality” and “shamelessness,” the AKP deputies stood up to attack him.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mustafa Şentop turned off Şık’s microphone and said, “Ahmet Şık’s words require him to be temporarily dismissed him from Parliament.” In an immediate vote, Şık was banned from the next two sessions in the legislature. The other HDP deputies left the general assembly with him.
Şık is a journalist for the Cumhuriyet newspaper and was elected as an HDP deputy in the last elections on June 24. He was imprisoned for 15 months between December 2016 and March 2018 due to his tweets and news stories.