Turkish man files legal complaint against Trump over insulting president

A Turkish lawyer from the southeastern city of Gaziantep has filed a criminal complaint against U.S. President Donald Trump for insulting the Turkish president, Turkish independent news site Artı Gerçek reported on Thursday.

Trump sent a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 9, urging him not to “be a fool” and to negotiate with Syrian Kurdish groups instead of launching a military operation. Erdoğan ignored Trump’s threats to “destroy Turkey’s economy” and launched Operation Peace Spring later that day.

CNN Türk reported that Erdoğan threw the letter in the bin before launching the operation. Yet the message became a hot topic in Turkey when it was disclosed by U.S. journalist Trish Regan on social media on Wednesday, with some Turkish commentators commenting that the U.S. president would have been liable to face charges.

Lawyer Şıh Mehmet Kurtoğlu agreed that Trump had crossed the line, saying he had been compelled to launch legal proceedings after the U.S. president insulted the Republic of Turkey, its president and the Turkish people, according to Artı Gerçek.

In Turkey, insulting the president carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.

The Turkish government has charged thousands of citizens for insulting Erdoğan in social media posts, cartoons, news reports and other media since he assumed office as president in 2014.