Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has this week launched a lawsuit against LGBT activist Levent Pişkin demanding over 23,000 USD in damages following a tweet that the office of the President viewed as defamatory.
The case is the second time President Erdogan has sued the LGBT activist for comments made through Twitter. The last case saw Pişkin pay around 695 USD worth in damages and serve a short sentence for libel.
In regards to this most recent case Erdogan’s legal team stated that “the defendant continues to cross the line and grossly insult the acting Prime Minister”. A document sent to Pişkin from Erdogan’s law team also said that the President’s “honor, dignity and reputation” had been damaged.
The offending Tweet translates as “The next declaration I am expecting from Erdoğan is, ‘I am a perfect fag. Obviously I will not learn how to be a fag from you.’ Kisses #LGBTIintheConstitution.*
In defence of the tweet Pişkin stated that he would never use the term ‘ibne’ (which roughly translates as ‘fag’) because of his own sexual orientation. Pişkin claims that the tweet was not intended as an insult as the term had been reclaimed by the LGBTI community and was used to indicate sexual orientation instead.
Erdogan’s legal team however see the tweet as an attempt to defame the President and have continued to press charges following Pişkin’s previous sentence of libel, which was given in December 2013. Many have raised the argument that Erdogan’s stance of declaring the word ‘ibne’ could be seen as homophobic.
In response to the case Turkish LGBT organisations have claimed that the authorities are attempting to persecute Pişkin for his role in the LGBT community.