President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a complaint against journalist Fatih Portakal over lying and using statements that aim to manipulate people on social media.
Another complaint against the journalist was filed by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), which claimed that Portakal “harmed the reputation of the banks” with his post.
Portakal, a journalist who has repeatedly been slammed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), commented on Erdoğan’s remarks on the need for solidarity between the people and the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Turkish Republic, with its state, institutions and opportunities, stands with its 83 million citizens without exceptions. I express my gratitude for the unity and solidarity of our people with the state,” Erdoğan said after a cabinet meeting on April 6, before giving a series of orders issued by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, as an example.
“The Turkish people put forward everything they had as part of the ‘Tekalif-i Milliye’ orders issued with the signature of Veteran Mustafa Kemal,” he also said, referring to the National Obligations orders issued during Turkey’s War of Independence to meet the needs of the army during the war.
Following Erdoğan’s speech, Portakal took to Twitter to comment on the issue, saying that he can’t rule out the declaration of another Tekalif-i Milliye based on the President’s remarks.
“What if money is asked from those who have deposits or savings by saying ‘We are going through tough times’ and reminding [the people of] Tekalif-i Milliye! What if they say we’ll pay after the coronavirus [outbreak]! I can’t rule it out unfortunately,” Portakal tweeted on April 6.
Erdoğan’s lawyer Ahmet Özel said that “forcing citizens to pay money is absolutely out of question,” while accusing the journalist of attempting to manipulate the people.
The BDDK, meanwhile, deemed Portakal’s remarks “unrealistic statements about the banking and finance system.”