Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Ex-Miss Turkey sentenced to 1 year in prison for ‘insulting' Turkish president on social media

A Turkish court Tuesday found a former Miss Turkey beauty queen guilty of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media, handing her a suspended sentence of over one year in jail.

The Istanbul court sentenced model Merve Buyuksarac, 27, to one year and two months in prison for “publicly insulting” Erdogan in a satirical poem she posted on her Instagram account, the Dogan news agency reported.

The punishment has been suspended, it added, without giving further details.

The “Master's Poem” — which was shared by the model while Erdogan was serving as prime minister — criticises the Turkish president with verses adapted from the national anthem.


Erdogan, who was elected president in August 2014 after serving as prime minister for more than a decade, is often called “Buyuk Usta” (the Big Master).

Hatice Ozay, Erdogan's lawyer, told the court that the model's posts on social media cannot be considered criticism but rather was an “attack against my client's personal rights.”

Buyuksarac won the Miss Turkey competition in 2006 and has since worked as a model as well as appearing on reality TV shows.

After being briefly detained in January 2015, she admitted to sharing the poem which had been printed in a Turkish satirical magazine but said she did not want to insult the president.

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