Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has been ordered to pay TL 100,000 ($6,100) in damages to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family members for “attacking” their personal rights in remarks made in a 2020 interview, local media reported on Thursday.
The Anadolu 15th Criminal Court of First Instance ordered Kılıçdaroğlu to pay TL 50,000 ($3,050) to Erdoğan and TL 10,000 ($610) each to Erdoğan’s brother Mustafa Erdoğan, and his children Ahmet Burak Erdoğan, Necmeddin Bilal Erdoğan, Esra Albayrak and Sümeyye Erdoğan Bayraktar in damages on the grounds that he violated their rights in an interview he gave to a newspaper on Aug. 17, 2020.
In the interview Kılıçdaroğlu talked about his earlier allegations that Erdoğan and his close circle secretly had transferred money to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man.
Kılıçdaroğlu alleged in a parliamentary group meeting in November 2017 that in 2011 a group including Erdoğan’s uncle Ziya İlgen, his son’s father-in-law Osman Ketenci and his friend and businessperson Mustafa Gündoğan in addition to Ahmet Burak Erdoğan and Mustafa Erdoğan had conducted transfers amounting to $18 million to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man, a tax haven. He produced SWIFT codes and bank receipts to back up his claims.
The allegations resulted in Kılıçdaroğlu being sued for damages by Erdoğan and his close circle.
In their most recent lawsuit filed against Kılıçdaroğlu, lawyers of Erdoğan and his family members demanded that the CHP leader be ordered to pay TL 1 million ($61,015) to Erdoğan and TL 200,000 ($12,203) to each of the other five complainants.
Their lawyers claimed in the petition that Kılıçdaroğlu attacked the complainants’ personal rights with remarks related to alleged secret money transfers to the Isle of Man, in which he “slandered and insulted” them back in 2020.
The Turkish president, whose Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been ruling Turkey as a single-party government since 2002, is frequently accused of wasting taxpayers’ money and making his cronies rich through the use of public resources at a time of increased poverty among Turks.
Critics also accuse Erdoğan of establishing one-man rule in the country by jailing his critics and silencing opposition media.