Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against Fox TV news anchor Fatih Portakal, due to a tweet about a speech he gave on Monday.
In the tweet Portakal speculated as to whether Erdoğan had hinted at a possible requisitioning of bank deposits by referring in his speech to a set of laws promulgated during the Turkish War of Independence that compelled people to give significant portions of their revenue and assets for the war effort (Tekalif-i Milliye Kanunları).
“I wonder if the funds in people’s deposit and savings accounts will be demanded under the pretext of ‘We are going through difficult days.’ Maybe they will promise to pay it back after the [the COVID-19 pandemic],” Portakal tweeted on Monday. “I cannot say that it will not happen, unfortunately.”
Ahmet Özel, a lawyer for Erdoğan, released a written statement announcing the legal action. He said they have sued for insult to the president and asked prosecutors to further examine Portakal’s remarks in light of Turkey’s banking regulations.
“The comments are completely false and aimed at manipulating public opinion,” Özel said, adding that Erdoğan only referred to the wartime laws with the purpose of reinvigorating the spirit of national solidarity.
He stressed that the aid campaign launched by Erdoğan is on a voluntary basis only and that requisitioning of personal funds is out of the question.