Turkish businessman Besim Tibuk charged with insulting Erdoğan

A Turkish prosecutor filed a criminal complaint against the former chairman of the opposition Liberal Democrat Party and businessman Besim Tibuk on charges of insulting the Turkish president, Duvar reported on Tuesday.

The complaint followed Tebuk’s statements on a TV programme earlier this month, when he criticised Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his management of Turkey’s economy, the news site said.

“The reason why the Turkish currency is in the state it’s in the past month is because the Turkish government does not know economics,” Tibuk told Diyalog TV.

The former LDP chairman also said Erdoğan’s government was “novice” in steering the economy and remained adamant on turning its back to Western financing, including the International Monetary Fund, to appease its Islamist voters.

Turkey’s economy has been badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak just as it was recovering from a currency crisis that began in the summer of 2018. The lira sank to a record low last week, despite interventions in the currency market by the central bank, and the IMF is forecasting a 5 percent economic contraction this year.

Insulting the president carries a jail sentence of between one and four years, according to the Turkish Penal Code.