Turkey, Politics

Erdogan drops insult lawsuits against opposition heads

Lawsuit withdrawals comes on the same day Turkish PM meets with opposition party leaders in Ankara

Erdogan drops insult lawsuits against opposition heads


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dropped lawsuits against two opposition leaders charged with insulting him, according to an Ankara court on Monday.

The move comes in the aftermath of the deadly July 15 coup attempt, which sought to overthrow the elected government and potentially assassinate Erdogan.

The president’s lawyer, Huseyin Aydin, said the withdrawal of lawsuits against main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli were submitted to court on Monday.

Kilicdaroglu, in return, also decided to drop lawsuits against Erdogan and withdraw all complaint petitions, his lawyer Celal Celik announced. 

Bahceli also thanked Erdogan, saying that the "positive move" would contribute to the solidarity between political parties and the normalization process in the country in the failed coup’s wake. 

Last Friday, Erdogan said he withdrew all cases filed for insults against him as a sign of one-time goodwill.

According to Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, at least 1,845 cases have been opened over insults to Erdogan in the previous two years.

Since July 15, political parties across the political spectrum in Turkey have come together to condemn the coup attempt by supporters of U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also separately met with the CHP's Kilicdaroglu and the MHP's Bahceli in Ankara on Monday. 

Turkey's government has repeatedly said the deadly coup attempt, which martyred more than 230 people and injured nearly 2,200 others, was organized by Gulen's followers and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

Gulen is also accused of running a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.

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