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Kuwaiti writer accused of insulting Atatürk threatens Turkish interior minister with lawsuit

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Abd Al-Aziz Duwaihi Bin Rumaih, a Kuwaiti writer and businessman, has threatened Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya with legal action in response to Yerlikaya’s announcement that criminal proceedings have been initiated against Rumaih for insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey.

“The Kuwaiti writer named Abdulaziz Ramih has publicly insulted the passport of the Republic of Turkey and the founder of our republic, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in many social media posts,” Yerlikaya said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“His posts on social media supporting A.E.S., who was arrested for insulting Atatürk, were also discovered,” Yerlikaya said and added that criminal proceedings were launched against Rumaih.

A.E.S. is a 17-year-old high school student in İstanbul who was arrested following the circulation of a video on social media showing him performing a lewd act with a picture of Atatürk.

The 17-year-old’s arrest comes under Law 5816, “The Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk,” which safeguards “the memory of Atatürk” from insult by any Turkish citizen. Violation of this law can result in imprisonment for up to three years.

In a reply to Yerlikaya’s post, Rumaih said, “Do you think I will be afraid of you because you are the minister of interior?”

Targeting Yerlikaya with insults, Rumaih said he would file a lawsuit against Yerlikaya for revealing his personal details.

Rumaih said his criticism of Turkey was a reaction to racist attacks by Turks on Arabs. He was referring to an incident on Saturday in which a Turk attacked a Kuwaiti tourist in Trabzon, a city in northeastern Turkey, sparking outrage in Kuwait.

Turkish authorities detained the individual responsible for the assault.

Kuwait’s ambassador to Turkey, Wael Al-Enezi, said afterward that the embassy is closely monitoring the situation and that the injured Kuwaiti citizen is in good condition.

The incident has led to calls from Kuwaiti lawmakers for swift action and strong condemnation from the Gulf nation’s foreign ministry.

The case has drawn significant attention, especially considering the high number of Kuwaiti tourists visiting Turkey, with 163,496 recorded in the first six months of 2023 alone.

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