Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a defamation lawsuit against main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, seeking TL 500,000 ($82,000) in non-pecuniary damages for Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks accusing him of links to terrorist groups, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.
In the complaint, submitted by Erdoğan’s lawyer, Kılıçdaroğlu was accused of slander and “trying to divert attention from his party’s cooperation with terrorist groups.”
The two leaders have been involved in a war of words, triggered on Tuesday by Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments that it was Erdoğan himself who handed over government posts to the members of the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government considers a terrorist group.
The Turkish government uses the derogatory term “FETÖ” to refer to the movement, which it accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in July 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup.
Erdoğan fired back the next day, describing Kılıçdaroğlu as “FETÖ’s political branch.”