President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a new lawsuit against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, demanding to be paid one million liras in compensation, Turkish media outlets reported on April 4.
The lawsuit concerns Kılıçdaroğlu's tweet from March 31 in which he called Erdoğan a "money collector of the gang of five," referring to five construction companies that have close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“You can't be an economist; you can only be the [money] collector of the gang of five. A collector who set an eye on people's money!" Kılıçdaroğlu's tweet read.
Sen ekonomist değil, olsan olsan 5’li çetenin tahsildarı olursun. Halkın parasına göz dikmiş bir tahsildar! https://t.co/LEK4iNVh68— Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (@kilicdarogluk) March 31, 2022
Erdoğan's lawyer Hüseyin Aydın said in a statement that upon their application, an Ankara court had released an interim decision urging Kılıçdaroğlu “to be more careful" with regards to his statements concerning Erdoğan.
Following the launch of the lawsuit, Kılıçdaroğlu replied to Erdoğan again via Twitter.
In the video Kılıçdaroğlu shared, he said: “The gentleman was hurt, and immediately rushed to court."
"In our country, a collector is called a collector, a gang is a gang. Look at what the dictionary says: ‘A person who is in charge of collecting money for a person or an organization is called a collector.’ The shame is yours for doing it for the gang of five instead of doing it for the public. In our country, a collector is not called an economist, do not be offended,” Kılıçdaroğlu further said.
These five construction companies close to President Erdoğan dominate the private-public partnership (PPP) projects, with the worth of their contracts amounting to more than a half of the total.
The companies are also called Erdoğan's "oligarchs" and are granted tax incentives as well as exemptions.