Erdogan sues Dutch far-right MP Wilders over 'terrorist' cartoon

Erdogan sues Dutch far-right MP Wilders over 'terrorist' cartoon
Dutch far-right politician and former MP Geert Wilders, known for his anti-Islam stance, shared a cartoon of Erdogan with the caption "terrorist".
2 min read
27 October, 2020
Under Turkish law, insulting the President constitutes a crime. [Getty]
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched legal action against Dutch far-right politician and former MP Geert Wilders for posting a cartoon of the Turkish president with the caption "terrorist".

Erdogan's lawyer Huseyin Aydin filed a criminal complaint on Tuesday over Wilders' 'insulting content' of the president, according to Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency.

The complaint, submitted to the Office of the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor, claimed Wilder's remarks were "criminal libel" and argued that it did not fall under freedom of expression. Under Turkish law, insulting the president constitutes a crime.

Wilders, an anti-Islam politician, on Saturday shared the black-and-white cartoon depicting Erdogan wearing a bomb-shaped hat with the logo of his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The controversial 56-year-old politician has a track record of making offensive comments, hurling insults at Arabs and inticing discrimination, while defending his actions by free speech.

In a 2014 rally, Wilders was accused of leading calls for "fewer Moroccans" in the Netherlands. Two years later, he was convicted of insulting "a group" and was accused of inticing discrimination.

In a AKP party meeting, Erdogan reportedly called Wilders a "fascist".

"Fascism is not in our book, it's in your book. Social justice is in our book," Erdogan was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying.

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After news of the lawsuit broke out, Wilders took to Twitter to respond to Erdogan's remarks, calling the Turkish leader a "dictator" and asking to cut diplomatic ties with Turkey.

"I will always speak the truth about the Turkish dictator [Erdogan], the man who previously called the Netherlands a remnant of Nazism, the man who let jihadists cross the Turkish border undisturbed. Put the Turkish ambassador out of our country!"

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday called him a "loser racist" trying to gain support with animosity towards Islam and foreigners.

"It is time for Europe to stop its spoiled, fascist-minded politicians," Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party and an ally of Erdogan, said on Tuesday that Wilders had "dark ties" with terrorist organisations.

"The degenerate leader of the Freedom Party has stooped so low as to call our president a terrorist. He has shown who truly is the terrorist, the fascist and the barbarian," Bahceli told members of his party in parliament.

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