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Prime minister files lawsuit against newspaper and editor

(BIANET/IFEX) - Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed a lawsuit against the "Hurriyet" newspaper and the national daily's editor-in-chief, Oktay Eksi, on the basis of a 28 October 2010 column entitled, "We have not been as critical as we should be". The article criticised the government's policies on the construction of Hydroelectric Power Plants (HES) in the Ikizdere Valley, in the eastern Black Sea region.

The subject of Eksi's column was a document regarding the transfer of a declared protected area from the Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection Board to the authority of the Ministry of Labour. The document was published in the provincial issue of the daily. In the associated Istanbul issue, the column read, "Now we can see the abilities of the mentality which sells 'everything' to its own advantage".

The lawsuit claims the column constitutes an "attack on PM Erdogan's personal rights and moral personality" and seeks compensation in the amount of TL 100,000 (approximately €50,000), including interest.

After the publication of the article, Eksi issued a short note of apology and resigned as editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

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