ANKARA (Today’s Zaman) — Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has filed a criminal complaint against Turkish-Armenian journalist Hayko Bagdat on defamation charges, after the latter jokingly posted tweets referring to him as an Armenian after the March 2014 local elections.
According to the Diken website and the state-run Anadolu news agency, Gökçek’s petition to the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office stated that Bagdat, who has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter, wrote a series of posts in the wake of Gökçek’s victory in last year’s March elections. One of Bagdat’s messages said: “It is official; they gave the capital city to an Armenian. What a shame!” according to the petition.
The petition also said a Twitter hashtag “melihgökçekermeniymis” (Melih Gökçek turns out to be Armenian) was allegedly used by Bagdat in his tweets on the social media website.
Gökçek’s lawyer said in the petition that the mayor is “a citizen of the Turkish Republic who loves his country and his nation” and that Bagdat is aware of this. “The statements [by Bagdat] are false and include insult and libel,” the petition said.
Gökçek also sued Bagdat in civil court, demanding compensation of TL 10,000 for psychological damages. Bagdat announced the lawsuit on Twitter, saying: “Turns out Melih Gökçek sued me demanding TL 10,000 for calling him Armenian, dude. We are going to have so much fun.”