Ex-Miss Turkey Condemned to Jail for Insulting Erdogan

A former Miss Turkey has been sentenced to suspended jail for sending an insulting post about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on her Instagram.

According to a report by the Associated Press as covered by ISNA, the court sentenced Merve Buyuksarac to a 14-month suspended prison term, meaning she won’t serve time unless she repeats the offense within five years.

Buyuksarac was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, and authorities detained the 27-year-old in 2014 after she posted a poem to her Instagram account. The poem was called “The Master’s Poem,” and some of its lines referenced a high-level corruption case. Lawyers representing Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time, argued her repost amounted to an attack on the Turkish leader’s personal rights.

“I published that poem because I found it funny and I had no intention to insult Erdogan,” she said at that time.

Since becoming president in 2014, Erdogan has filed close to 2,000 defamation cases under a previously seldom-used law that bars insulting the president. Free speech advocates say the law is being used aggressively to silence and intimidate critics.

They are trying to suppress any criticism against Erdogan based on a law that bans insulting to Turkish President.