HDP MP Gergerlioğlu files criminal complaint after VP Oktay calls dismissed public servants 'terrorists'

HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has filed a criminal complaint against Vice President Fuat Oktay for describing every person dismissed by a statutory decree after the 2016 coup attempt as a “terrorist.”

This collage photo shows HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu (L) and Vice President Fuat Oktay.

Duvar English

Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has filed a criminal slander and insult complaint against Vice President Fuat Oktay after the latter described all those dismissed by statutory decrees (KHK) after the 2016 coup attempt as “FETÖ terrorists.”

Vice President Oktay used the phrase on Feb. 2 in a television program describing those people who were dismissed - and some tried - after the 2016 coup attempt. In the months and weeks following the putsch, hundreds of thousands of people have been dismissed from their jobs and tens of thousands arrested on charges of being linked to the Gülen network, referred to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) by the government.

Many of those dismissed were opposition public servants - bureaucrats, teachers, doctors, and politicians.

Gergerlioğlu himself is an outspoken critic of the government and was dismissed from his post as a doctor following the coup. He ran for parliament and was elected in 2018. Last summer, he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity and arrested on “terrorism” charges. He was jailed, in total, for three months until the Constitutional Court ruled that his rights had been violated. He was then reinstated as deputy. 

“Vice President Fuat Oktay committed a major crime by calling all the people expelled by the KHK 'terrorists' and we are filing a criminal complaint against him with the prosecutor's office,” the HDP MP said in parliament on Feb. 10. 

He said he was making this complaint on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of people who were dismissed, insulted, and slandered.

“What you have done is a great crime. It's hate speech, it's an insult, it's slander. You are carrying out extrajudicial executions of me and hundreds of thousands of KHK members,” Gergerlioğlu said.

Gergerlioğlu argues in his complaint that Oktay misused his position and manipulated discourse to make targets of hundreds of thousands of people. Because of his position, Gergerlioğlu argues, Oktay should be more severely punished - he has the ability to influence public perception.

“The suspect misused his position, manipulated perception, and targeted thousands of people in front of the public,” he said. “By using the sensitivities of the public, he has caused intellectual pollution with a criminal act, far beyond the freedom of thought and belief.”

Gergerlioğlu has submitted numerous complaints and investigation requests to the government that have gone unacknowledged. However, he continues to do so.

“We are fighting so that no trace of cruelty goes unrecognized,” he said. “This is what we fight for in this world.”