Duvar English - Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint with Turkish authorities against prominent Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders saying that he had insulted him on social media.
Wilders is one of Europe's most prominent far-rightists and has been a key figure in shaping the immigration debate in the Netherlands over the past decade, although he has never been in government.
On Oct. 24 Wilders posted a cartoon picture of Erdoğan and captioned it "terrorist."
Terrorist. pic.twitter.com/jxdnDhk9ti— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) October 24, 2020
On Oct. 26 he posted an image of a sinking ship with a Turkish flag on it. "Bye bye @RTErdogan. Kick Turkey out of NATO," he said under the image.
Erdoğan's lawyers filed a lawsuit with prosecutors in Ankara on Oct. 27, saying Turkish courts had jurisdiction on the matter because the insults were directed at Turkey's president.
"Even though the crime was committed directly against the person in the presidential seat, the value that is being violated is the state's political government structure," the lawyers said.
They said the comments by Wilders could not be viewed as freedom expression and that Wilders had targeted Erdoğan's "honour, dignity, character and reputation".
Ankara has long been critical of the views and policies put forth by Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Oct. 25 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," Çavuşoğlu said on Twitter.Erdoğan aide: Europe is a dangerous place for Muslims
Devlet Bahçeli, leader of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and an ally of Erdoğan, said on Oct. 27 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," Bahçeli told members of his party in parliament.
The move comes a day after Erdoğan urged Turks to boycott French goods over images of the Prophet Mohammad being displayed in France, which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
Wilders has frequently shocked the Dutch political establishment and offended Muslims.
He was acquitted in a 2011 hate speech trial for remarks likening Islam to Nazism and calling for a ban on the Quran. Last month he was acquitted by an appeals court of discrimination, although the court upheld a conviction for intentionally insulting Moroccans as a group.Turkey slams ‘racist’ Dutch politician over Erdoğan cartoon