Turkey sentenced a former beauty queen to 14 months in prison on Tuesday, deepening concerns that the country is swaying toward an increasingly authoritarian form of rule.I don't think the Donald is going to try to keep her out. Him? Maybe.
An Istanbul court found Merve Buyuksarac, 27, guilty of insulting a public official, after she shared a poem on her Instagram account in 2014 that was deemed insulting to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country’s president.
The court said the sentence would be suspended on the condition that Ms Buyuksarac did not reoffend within the next five years.Freedom of speech is a luxury Americans tend to take for granted, until someone tries to take it away. Much of the rest of the world is not as fortunate.
Her lawyer, Emre Telci, said he would file a formal objection to the verdict and appeal her case at the European Court of Justice.
The case against Ms Buyuksarac is one of almost 2,000 defamation suits that have been brought against critics of Mr Erdogan since he became president in 2014.
Free speech advocates say the law is being used aggressively to silence and intimidate critics. The trials have targeted journalists, academics and even schoolchildren. Coupled with a crackdown on opposition media and journalists, the trials have sounded alarms over the erosion of rights and freedoms in a country that was once seen as a model of Muslim democracy.And German law did technically make it illegal to slander foreign leaders. See my comment above.
Mr Erdogan caused an uproar last month, when on the basis of an archaic law that criminalises insulting foreign heads of state, he went after a German comedian who mocked him in a profanity-packed poem.
"These insult trials are being initiated in series, they are being filed automatically," Mr Telci told The Associated Press by telephone after the verdict. "Merve was prosecuted for sharing a posting that did not belong to her. My client has been convicted for words that do not belong to her."Irony alert. Or hypocrisy alert. Take your pick.
Ms Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained last year for sharing the poem, which apparently used verses from the Turkish national anthem to criticise Mr Erdogan. She later deleted the post, apparently on advice from a friend who had warned she may have committed a crime.
We should import her immediately, and set her to work on Barack Obama.
Ms Buyuksarac’s sentencing comes almost two decades after Mr Erdogan himself was jailed over a poem he read at an Islamist rally.
The Turkish leader served four months in prison in 1998, after prosecutors said it challenged the nation’s secular order. Mr Erdogan has insisted the poem was “was an attention-getter”.
Linked at Pirate's Cove in the weekly "Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup" and links. Wombat-socho has "Rule 5 Sunday: D is for Debbie" up at The Other McCain.