Dethroned Miss Turkey acquitted over coup attempt tweet
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had demanded Itır Esen serve up to one year in jail on charges of “publicly insulting a segment of the public based on social class, race, religion, sect, gender or regional differences.”
“My purpose was not to offend anyone. I apologize for the misunderstanding. If I had known that my post would be understood in this way, I would not have shared it like this. My purpose was not to humiliate a specific segment of the people. I’m innocent. I request my acquittal,” Esen said in the trial’s hearing.
The message had drawn controversy for linking the anniversary of the coup attempt to menstruation, prompting the Miss Turkey competition board to remove her crown.
Her lawyer, Fatma Vildan Yirmibeşoğlu, said the tweet should actually have been considered a “celebration message.”
“My client’s post was a message of congratulation, expressed as an opinion made by the new generation in its own style. This can be criticized or condemned but that does not mean it constitutes a criminal offense,” Yirmibeşoğlu said.
The indictment, filed on Dec. 7, said three people had filed a criminal complaint against Esen over the tweet.
According to the indictment, Esen acknowledged that she had written the tweet and said she shared it to “commemorate the July 15 coup martyrs for ironic purposes.”
Esen had been a model for a range of renowned fashion designers in the country over the past three years, and is a student at the English Language Teaching Department of Istanbul University.