Turkish Armenian journalist makes counterclaim against Ankara Mayor over insults

Journalist and writer Hayko Bağdat has filed a counterclaim against Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek over the content of Gökçek’s legal claims against him, Today’s Zaman reports.

In March, Gökçek made what some see as a verbal attack on Cem Özdemir, the co-chairman of the Green Party in Germany, writing on Twitter: “I am asking Özdemir just out of curiosity… Please give me a response Cem Özdemir… Are you of Armenian origin?”

Gökçek’s tweets came after Özdemir called on Turkey to recognize the killings of Armenians during the last years of the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

In response to Gökçek’s tweets, Bağdat posted several tweets mocking Gökçek’s question. “Reply Cem Özdemir! … You are said to be an Armenian,” posted Bağdat.

In his following tweets, Bağdat suggested that Gökçek is Armenian. “I formally say you are an Armenian. In my opinion, you should sue me @06melihgokcek,” Bağdat wrote.

“The capital city [Ankara] was handed over to an Armenian! What a shame! I wait for you to come to church on Sunday @06melihgokcek. We are all grieving…” wrote Bağdat.

After these tweets, Gökçek first filed a criminal complaint against Bağdat and then filed a lawsuit demanding compensation of TL 10,000 for psychological damages, arguing that Bağdat’s remarks defining him as an Armenian were insulting and libelous, and made with the intention of harming Gökçek’s reputation.

Bağdat also used a hashtag #melihgökçekermeniymiş” (Melih Gökçek turns out to be Armenian), which Gökçek referenced in his lawsuit.

In response, Bağdat announced the lawsuit on Twitter, saying: “Turns out Melih Gökçek sued me demanding TL 10,000 for calling him Armenian. We are going to have so much fun.”

After that case was launched, Bağdat filed a counterclaim against Gökçek based on the content of Gökçek’s claims against Bağdat, stressing that the word “Armenian” had been used to defame and insult him, amounting to an “explicit example of an attack on his rights and honor.”

Bağdat demanded compensation of TL 10,000 in damages.

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