Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan filed a lawsuit against Bundestag Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki for insult and defamation, through his lawyer in Cologne.
Kubicki, leader of the Liberal Democrats (FDP), during his campaign speech in Lower Saxony last Sunday called the Turkish president a "sewer rat" and accused him of using the refugee issue as a tool to exert political pressure on Europe.
The German politician later tried to make amends, speaking of "a small, cute, clever and cunning being, like Ratatouille", but it seems that he did not convince the other side, as the German ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry in order to give explanations.
In his lawsuit, Erdoğan's lawyer Mustafa Kaplan pointed out, according to Der Spiegel, that the term "sewer rat" refers to a person who is considered morally inferior and disgusting and argues that this is not about actual criticism, but slander.
He also invokes religious reasons, which make it very difficult to accept this phrase.
"Islam rejects such insults," writes Kaplan and added that Kubicki's comments had nothing to do with refugee policy, while it is, he argues, "provably untrue that the Turkish president is using refugees as a means of pressure."
The Turkish-born lawyer from Cologne also pointed out that Wolfgang Kubicki is a lawyer himself and cannot plead ignorance about what constitutes defamation.
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