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Court dismisses lawsuit filed by Erdoğan against main opposition leader

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An Ankara court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against the country’s main opposition leader on allegations of insult, a lawyer has announced.

The Ankara court made its decision on Wednesday, according to Celal Çelik, the lawyer for Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

“Yet another lesson from the judiciary. Erdoğan has lost again,” tweeted the lawyer.

Erdoğan filed the lawsuit against Kılıçdaroğlu, seeking damages of TL 500,000 ($34,000), due to a speech Kılıçdaroğlu delivered at a party meeting in parliament in December 2020. Erdoğan claimed the main opposition leader attacked his personal rights in his speech.

At the time Kılıçdaroğlu accused Erdoğan of taking orders from Qatari sheiks due to his government’s close relations with Qatar, plotting against the Turkish military in collaboration with the Gülen movement through what he called sham trials and serving the interests of the “pawn brokers” before which he bowed.

Kılıçdaroğlu was referring to the Ergenekon and Sledgehammer trials in which dozens of military officers and generals were tried on coup charges more than a decade ago. At the time, Erdoğan supported the investigations, claiming that Turkey was being cleansed of shady structures. However, after he started a war against the faith-based Gülen movement with the launch of corruption investigations in late 2013 in which his close circle was implicated, he began to accuse Gülen-linked judges and prosecutors of plotting against the military with those trials.

Erdoğan also later accused the movement, led by a Muslim cleric residing in the US, of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 despite a strong denial from the group.

Erdoğan often sues opposition politicians or critics due to their criticism of his policies or government. Although the Turkish judiciary is accused of being controlled by the government, especially after the purge of more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors following the coup attempt under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, the courts sometimes issue rulings against the president.

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