Istanbul, April 15 () - The son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has lost a defamation case against a journalist who had reported an alleged corruption case.
Bilal Erdoğan sued daily Cumhuriyet reporter Canan Coşkun over a story published by the newspaper on Sept. 13, 2014. He claimed that the article “insulted” him and demanded compensation.
Quoting the Dec. 25, 2013 corruption investigation files, the article stated that the municipality had “gifted” a historic building in Istanbul to the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), an NGO of which Bilal Erdoğan is a board member.
The 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul ruled that “the elements of crime had not been formed,” which led to the dropping of the defamation case, daily Radikal reported on April 15.
In one of his phone calls wiretapped by the prosecutors of the corruption investigation and later published by daily Cumhuriyet, a person, said to be Bilal Erdoğan, was recorded saying that he had “pressured the municipality” to take control of the building.
The building, located in Istanbul’s Fatih neighborhood, is known as “Muhafızlık Konağı” (Mansion of Guards). It was built in 1851 to protect sacred relics believed to have belonged to the Prophet Muhammad.
President Erdoğan has sued scores of people in Turkey over “insults,” since he was elected president in August 2014. Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar testified in Istanbul on Feb. 26 over allegations that he had insulted the head of state in an interview with a prosecutor investigating corruption, and he described the process as a “kind of deterrence policy.”