Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a criminal complaint against staff at the right-wing Greek newspaper Dimokratia Monday over the publication of an offensive headline. Erdoğan filed the complaint after Dimokratia published a picture of Erdoğan with the headline “Siktir Git Mr. Erdogan,” which translates to “F*** off Mr. Erdogan.” The headline included both the English and Turkish translation.
According to the criminal complaint, Turkish judicial authorities have jurisdiction over defamation against Erdoğan abroad.
The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated their support for free speech, but condemned the use of offensive language in the following statement:
Freedom of expression and freedom of the Press are fully protected in Greece. This fact does not negate the obligation to refrain from insulting the personality of any individual, particularly a foreign leader. The use of offensive language is contrary to our country’s political culture and can only be condemned.
The complaint accuses Greek authorities of being silent on the matter and suggests this is the product of the moral collapse of Greece.
The crime of “insulting the president” in Turkey carries a sentence of up to four years in prison. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), there were 6,0000 prosecutions in 2017 alone. HRW has called for repealing the law because it violates free speech principles.