Turkish opposition leader ordered to pay Erdogan $17,200 over ‘insult’

The leader of Turkey’s main opposition party was on July 14 ordered to pay PresidentRecep Tayyip Erdogan compensation for calling him a “sham dictator,”  the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

An Ankara civil court ruled Kemal Kılıcdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), should pay 50,000 Turkish liras ($17,200) on charges of  insulting the president.

Kılıçdaroglu made the remarks at the party’s 35th Ordinary Convention on Jan. 16 and in a parliamentary group meeting on Jan. 19. His lawyer denied the allegation.

Erdoğan’s lawyer argued that Kılıcdaroglu’s comment constituted “extraordinarily weighty insults” with the intention of attacking his client’s image.

According to the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 299, it is also a criminal offense to insult the president. The offense carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.

The CHP is the biggest opposition party in Turkey, with 133 seats in the 550-member Turkish parliament. Kilicdaroglu has led the party since May 2010.

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