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Turkey’s interior minister sues main opposition leader for TL 1 mln on allegations of insult

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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has filed a lawsuit against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu seeking TL 1 million ($53,880) in damages on allegations of “insult,” local media reported on Friday, citing the minister.

Soylu announced the development on his Twitter account on Friday.

The lawsuit comes after Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent claims that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), in particular Soylu, were involved in facilitating money laundering and drug trafficking in the country, sparking a fresh controversy between the two.

The CHP leader claimed in a seven-minute video released on Twitter in late October that the government was using the “black money” that was coming into Turkey from drug trafficking to close the country’s current account deficit.

After Montenegrin mob boss Zeljko Bojanic, implicated in drug trafficking, was detained by police at his villa in İstanbul over the weekend, Kılıçdaroğlu criticized Soylu during a group meeting of his party, saying he would have resigned immediately if he had had “a gram of dignity.”

“Kılıçdaroğlu is the one who’s undignified,” Soylu replied in a tweet on Nov. 8, following which the CHP leader sued him, seeking a symbolic 5 kuruş in damages on allegations of “insult.”

According to Turkish media reports, Soylu then filed a similar lawsuit against the CHP leader seeking, however, TL 1 million ($53,880) in damages.

After Kılıçdaroğlu blamed the government for widespread drug use in the country, the Security General Directorate (EGM) filed a criminal complaint against him. It was the first one to be filed against a politician based on Article 29 of Turkey’s recently approved “disinformation” law, which criminalizes the dissemination of “false or misleading information” and stipulates prison sentences of one to three years.

The law has attracted widespread criticism from rights groups and the opposition on accusations that it will further cripple free speech in Turkey.

Mob boss Sedat Peker had also talked about the alleged involvement of the AKP in international drug trafficking in a video in 2021. Peker, who lives in exile in UAE and makes scandalous revelations about the dirty relations between the Turkish government and mafia and crime groups, claimed that Erkan Yıldırım, son of former vice president Binali Yıldırım, who is currently deputy chairman of the AKP, was part of a major drug trafficking ring involving Venezuela and Turkey.

Peker, the head of one of Turkey’s most powerful mafia groups who was once a staunch supporter of President Erdoğan, is the subject of an outstanding warrant in Turkey and can’t continue his revelations on social media these days due to restrictions imposed by the UAE on him.

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