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Erdogan may be the world's most 'insulted' leader

Lawyers for the Turkish president have sued more than 17,000 people for what they describe as insults to the president, with more than 5,000 convicted.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel in Brussels, Belgium March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir - RC2HGF9IKHPP

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s harsh rhetoric against his opponents is widely known at home and abroad. Yet a dramatic incident at the Turkish parliament last week provided insight into the fates of those who dare use the same rhetoric against him.

On March 4, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) criticized Erdogan by using the same words the president used to insult the CHP leader, setting off a brawl at the Turkish parliament. A lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) punched CHP lawmaker Engin Ozkoc numerous times. A prosecutor then launched a probe against Ozkoc on charges of “insulting the president.”

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