President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and 72 other lawmakers of the main opposition party for insulting him by sharing a cartoon on Twitter.
The move came after the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Kılıçdaroğlu on July 18.
Kılıçdaroğlu had tweeted a cartoon on July 17 depicting Erdoğan as various animals to show support for four university students who were arrested this month for carrying it as a placard at their graduation ceremony.
Students carried placards with political messages during Middle East Technical University’s (ODTÜ) graduation ceremony on July 6, as part of the 62-year-old university’s tradition.
The placard depicting Erdoğan as various animals, including an elephant, snake and monkey, was originally published as a cartoon by satire magazine Penguen in 2006.
Erdoğan had then sued the magazine but an Ankara court acquitted the cartoonists in a ruling that stressed the right of free speech.
Court rules for another hefty compensation
According to a July 18 ruling by Anadolu 20th Court of First Instance in Istanbul, Kılıçdaroğlu will pay 359,000 Turkish Liras to Erdoğan for insulting him and his relatives in a row over offshore accounts that CHP leader alleged the president and his relatives hold in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.
Kılıçdaroğlu said late last year that the president’s close circle engaged in multi-million dollar traffic through an off-shore company in the tax haven Isle of Man, later providing receipts of the transfers too.