Twitter troll handed prison sentence for abusing Turkish rocker
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish singer Aylin Aslım. Hürriyet photoAn internet troll has been given a suspended five-month sentence for threatening Turkish singer Aylin Aslım on Twitter, a verdict which has caused controversy.
In April 2012, Turkish popular singer Aylin Aslım, who is known for her outspoken, critical political stance, posted a tweet reading: “these hours of the day are favorite times of raunchy trolls. you are men, real men. It must be hard to be you...”
Aslım’s tweet rapidly drew attention from some Turkish twitter users in particular from the so-called “trolls.” In the context of internet slang, the term “Troll” refers to one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument, according to the website UrbanDictionary.com.
Cihat Akbel, who has 36,593 followers as of Nov. 28, replied to Aslım’s tweet and launched an ironic hashtag campaign #özürdileaylinaslım (#apoligizesaylinaslım).
The hashtag met with incredible popularity and was propelled to the top of Worldwide Trending List.
Users targeted Aslım with jokes which pushed the “limits of humor.”
Cihat Akbel wrote, “We must go her concert and throw a sickle at her head,” which was the final straw for Aslım, who thought this could turn into a lynching campaign.
The sickle was being used as a reference to the socialist icons “hammer and sickle,” in that tweet.
Aslım sued Akbel for making threats.
An Istanbul court yesterday accepted the accusations and ruled that the “troll” committed an internet crime and warranted a penalty of five months in prison, a landmark verdict in Turkey since the word “troll” was recorded in the court minutes for the first time.
Cihat Akbel, in response to the verdict, said from his twitter account today that his words were obviously ironic and he did not intend to threaten Aslım.
The court’s verdict caused a controversy among Turkish twitter users who shared their reactions today.
The singer, for her part, Nov. 28 reacted to the criticisms by publishing the screenshot of tweets that harassed her at the time.
The tweets, which were making fun of the verdict and Aslım, contained “jokes” such as “let’s burn the ones who retweet Aylin Aslım’s tweet,” one of the users said mockingly. Aslım said these could be evaluated in the scope of freedom of expression.
“I hope you, someone you love, your wife or husband, or your kid face such ‘jokes’ and then are told ‘it was only a joke we were not going to do what we wrote’,” Aslım said.