The Women and Democracy Association (KADEM), a prominent women's nongovernmental organization (NGO), has filed a criminal complaint against Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), over an insult targeting a minister which KADEM considers sexist.
Kılıçdaroğlu sparked outrage on Tuesday when he said that Family Minister Sema Ramazanoğlu "knelt before someone" while criticizing the minister over a sexual abuse scandal. The minister had argued that it was wrong to associate abuse by a teacher with the non-profit organization the suspected pedophile had once volunteered for.
KADEM activists in 14 cities filed criminal complaints against Kılıçdaroğlu, calling for the punishment of the opposition leader for insulting the minister and inciting hatred.
In Istanbul, KADEM president Sare Aydın Yılmaz and fellow activists applied to the chief prosecutor's office over Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks. "We filed the complaint because Kılıçdaroğlu's remarks are both verbal violence and a hate crime. We expect politicians to eliminate such a sexist language as soon as possible, and believe Kılıçdaroğlu will realize his big mistake and will apologize," she said. However, Kılıçdaroğlu was unapologetic when he defended his remarks on Wednesday. He said the ministry post does not have "gender."
The statement by Kılıçdaroğlu, who is known for similar statements amounting to insults in the past according to his critics, has rocked Turkish politics and strong condemnations from leaders and ministers have poured in. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described the CHP leader as "a political pervert," while the prime minister and ministers lashed out at Kılıçdaroğlu.