Turkish journalist files criminal complaint against far-right MHP leader

Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık has filed a criminal complaint against the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) after Devlet Bahçeli targeted Şık during a parliamentary speech, Diken news site reported.

The junior coalition partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday blasted Şık over his remarks against the Turkish state, calling for his arrest. The MHP leader’s remarks followed televised remarks condemning the Turkish Republic as ‘’murderous’’ by the journalist, who is also a lawmaker with the Turkish Workers Party(TİP).

“If the Republic of Turkey had been a murderer, today you would not be in Turkish Parliament but a cemetery,” Bahçeli told MHP lawmakers. “The place where this separatist belongs is behind bars.’’

The indictment Şık filed against Bahçeli accuses the MHP leader of misconstruing his remarks to target the TİP lawmaker in an attack on his personal rights, Diken said.

On Monday, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Şık over his televised statements on the Turkish state.

Prior to entering parliament, Şık was accused of disseminating propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation and or of assisting them through articles and interviews published in Cumhuriyet newspaper, as well as social media posts critical of the government.

He was taken into police custody on Dec. 29, 2016 as part of an investigation launched by the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office and released March 9, 2018, spending more than 400 days in pre-trial detention. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Nov. 24, ruled that Turkey violated Şık’s freedom of expression and the right to freedom and security.