Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is suing a senior German politician who called him a “sewer rat.”
Erdogan’s lawyer confirmed on Friday that the Turkish leader had filed a criminal complaint for insult and defamation.
Last week, Turkey’s foreign ministry summoned Germany’s ambassador to Ankara on Tuesday after Wolfgang Kubicki’s comment. Kubicki, a German lawmaker with the coalition Free Democratic Party (FDP), is the Bundestag’s Vice President.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the insulting statements made by Mr. Wolfgang Kubicki, the Vice President of the Federal Parliament of Germany, about our President,” the Turkish ministry said in a statement.
It added that the “indecent” remarks demonstrated “Kubicki’s political and moral level and reveal his banality.”
The sewer rat comment against Erdogan was referring to Turkey’s stance on refugees
Kubicki was campaigning for his FDP, a junior member of the ruling German coalition, in Lower Saxony on Monday when he told supporters Germany should not “just open its arms again” to a potential new wave of refugees arriving in the country, which he said could happen because of “Erdogan, the sewer rat.”
Kubicki later told Reuters he made these remarks in reference to rising numbers of undocumented migrants moving from Turkey along the so-called Balkan route toward Germany while adding that “a sewer rat is a small, cute, but at the same time a clever and crafty creature that also appears in children’s stories,” such as in the movie Ratatouille.
Kubicki said he is unconcerned about the lawsuit.
A Turkish law banning insults against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Last year, Erdogan filed a lawsuit against Greek daily newspaper Dimokratia.
The newspaper has said that the reason for Erdogan’s lawsuit was Dimokratia’s September 18, 2020 front-page headline stating “Siktir Git,” which expressed the indignation of the majority of Greeks for a series of insulting reports both by Erdogan himself and by his ministers or advisers during the period of illegal sea surveys carried out by the Oruc Reis vessel.
“Siktir Git” is an expletive that can be translated as “f*** off.” The front page also translated the insult into English using an asterisk.