Lawyers for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan filed a lawsuit against the main opposition leader on Monday for implying that Erdogan was a dictator, presidential sources and the opposition party said.
Erdogan, Turkey's most popular politician, is known for his intolerance of criticism and his readiness to take legal action over perceived slurs. Last week he urged prosecutors to investigate scores of academics for signing a declaration criticizing military action in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.
"Academics who express their opinions have been detained one by one on instructions given by a so-called dictator," Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Saturday, referring to the petition's signatories, who oppose the military crackdown on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and have urged an end to curfews.
"You may not agree with the content of the declaration. We also have issues with it, we also have our disagreements. But why limit freedom of speech?" Kilicdaroglu said in comments to his party's congress in Ankara.