Turkey opposition leader fined 17,000 dollars for insulting Erdogan

The leader of Turkey's largest opposition party has been fined 50,000 liras (17,250 dollars) for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this year, reports said Thursday, the latest in a string of similar cases.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the People's Republican Party (CHP), criticized the government in January, saying that academics were being jailed because of a "tinpot dictator." Prosecutors quickly opened a probe.

The ruling, which says he must pay the money as compensation to Erdogan, was handed down by a court in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Last year, Kilicdaroglu was also slapped with a compensation order after he was found guilty of insulting Erdogan.

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey and the law has been increasingly used in recent years against critics of Erdogan.

The opposition says this is an effort to silence free speech, amid growing concerns about widening authoritarianism in Turkey.

Earlier this year, the government said 1,845 cases were opened under the law prohibiting insulting the president. At least 34 journalists are currently in jail, according to watchdogs.

Last update: Thu, 14/07/2016 - 14:47

More from Europe

New bird flu virus type discovered in northern Germany

A new variant of bird flu has been discovered in domesticated animals in the northern German state of Schleswig-...

EU experts: Merkel has been main target of fake news

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been the main target of fake news campaigns in Europe, including disinformation...

Romanian president plans referendum to save anti-corruption law

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis wants to hold a referendum on the country's plans to ease corruption laws, he said...

Seven casualties, 22 missing at Italian avalanche-struck hotel

The death toll at an Italian hotel buried by an avalanche last week has risen to seven, while 22 guests and staff...

Sinn Fein names new party leader for Northern Ireland

Sinn Fein on Monday announced a new leader for the Northern Irish branch of the party, following the decision by...