Former Miss Turkey faces prison for ‘insulting’ President Erdoğan

Former Miss Turkey faces prison for ‘insulting’ President Erdoğan

ISTANBUL
Former Miss Turkey faces prison for ‘insulting’ President Erdoğan

Model and former Miss Turkey Merve Büyüksaraç is facing up to two years in prison for social media posts that prosecutors claim “insult” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The indictment has been completed as a part of an investigation into Büyüksaraç’s post, in which the prosecutor Umut Tepe demanded that she be sentenced to one to two years in prison. The Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul will now decide whether to initiate proceedings.   

Büyüksaraç, an industrial designer and writer who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained and questioned on Jan. 14 for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account.

“The Master’s Poem,” shared by Büyüksaraç, satirically criticized Erdoğan through verses adapted from the lyrics of Turkey’s national anthem.

The prosecutor’s indictment stated that “The remarks shared by the suspect could not be considered within the terms of freedom of expression.”

Büyüksaraç told the prosecutor that she “may have quoted a poem” from the weekly humor magazine Uykusuz, but deleted it soon after when one of her friends warned that such messages could bring about criminal procedures in Turkey.

“I shared it because I found it funny. I had no intention of insulting [Erdoğan],” she said.