The former Miss Turkey could face prison for an Instagram post. Really.
Merve Buyuksarac, a 26-year-old model, industrial designer, and writer, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, could be facing up to two years in prison for an Instagram post.
Sound ridiculous? It is, but it’s also indicative of the political climate in Turkey, where criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become a crime that could land you in jail.
A lawyer for Buyuksarac told the Associated Press that a prosecutor in Istanbul is demanding that the former beauty queen be tried on the charge of insulting a public official. The alleged insult in question: sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account.
Buyuksarac denies intentionally criticizing the President. “I did not personally adapt the poem titled ‘The Poem of the Chief,'” she told a Turkish news agency. “I shared it because it was funny to me. I did not intend to insult Recep Tayyup Erdogan.”
Her case will be decided in court. But she’s not the only figure who has been arrested for allegedly “insulting” Erdogan. In December, a 16-year-old was arrested for the same crime. Buyuksarac’s case is one of many that points towards an increasingly scary, claustrophobic climate in the country, where speech against political figures is punished by jail time.
The country has been increasingly cracking down on social media posts that could be construed as critical of Erdogan or his policies. Earlier this month, Twitter released a report showing that Turkey made up sixty percent of the Twitter removal requests for the entire globe.
(Image via The Independent)