Turkey begins probe into comments made by Dutch politician Wilders on Erdogan
ANKARA (TURKEY) – Prosecutors in Turkey have started a probe on Tuesday into remarks about President Tayyip Erdogan by Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders, said state media reports.
The Dutch leader tweeted on Monday saying Erdogan was a terrorist and urged Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte to expel the Turkish envoy. He also demanded the expulsion of Turkey from NATO.
Prosecutors in Ankara launched an investigation into Wilders over posts on Twitter including photographs and written insults against Erdogan, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, citing the prosecutor’s office.
Wilders, who heads the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, is one of the most significant far-right politicians in Europe and has played a key role in shaping the debate on immigration in his country.
His vitriolic comments invited a severe backlash from Turkish officials.
“This fascist who attacked our President would have been a damn Nazi if he had lived during World War Two. If he were living in the Middle East right now, he would be a Daesh murderer,” said Omer Celik, a spokesman for Erdogan’s AK Party.
The leader was acquitted in a hate speech trial in 2011 for remarks comparing Islam to Nazism and for demanding a ban on the Koran. In September, he was acquitted by an appeals court of discrimination.
Last year, Erdogan had filed a separate criminal complaint against Wilders over a cartoon depicting him with the caption ‘terrorist’ and a separate image of a sinking ship with a Turkish flag.