UCF Global Perspectives


Former Miss Turkey Convicted of Insulting President Erdogan

Elizabeth Lisowski, Senior Intern, Middle East

June 7, 2016

Merve Buyuksarac, 27, was convicted last week of insulting a public official, Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan, through social media postings (Hurriyet). Buyuksarac, crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained last year for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account in 2014 (Time). The courts suspended the 14-month prison sentence on the condition that she does not reoffend in the next five years (Al Jazeera). Buyuksarac’s laywer, Emre Telci, said he would file a formal objection and appeal the case at the European Court of Justice in Strasbourg, France (NYT).

The satirical version of the Turkish national anthem did not mention Erdogan by name and was shared by thousands on social media (Time). Since Erdogan took office in 2014, nearly 2,000 defamation cases have been filed under a previously seldom-used law that bars insulting the president (BBC). Human rights advocates have said the law is being used aggressively to silence and intimidate critics, journalists and citizens (Al Arabiya). The infringement on speech rights has deepened public concerns that the country is moving toward an increasingly authoritarian rule (NYT).










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