Former Miss Turkey sentenced to prison for ‘insulting’ Erdogan

Former Miss Turkey and model Merve Büyüksaraç has been sentenced to prison for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his prime ministry via a post on Instagram. A complaint was filed against Büyüksaraç, who was chosen Miss Turkey in 2006, for “openly insulting a public official for his duty,” the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

“The boundaries of criticism shouldn’t be interpreted harshly due to the complainant being a state authority. We think that the statements my client shared should be evaluated politically. That’s why we demand the acquittal of my client,” said Ali Deniz Ceylan, Büyüksaraç’s lawyer, on May 31.

The prison sentence of one year, two months and 17 days was postponed. Up to four years and five months in prison was sought for Büyüksaraç.

The lawyers of the parties were the only participants in the hearing, in which Erdoğan’s lawyer claimed that Büyüksaraç’s statements could not be evaluated within the framework of criticism.

“An attack took place against the personal rights of my client. We want the defendant to be punished,” said Erdoğan’s lawyer, Hatice Özay.

Büyüksaraç had said that she was regretful in her defense in the first hearing of the case and asked for her acquittal.

“The poem I’ve shared was shared 960,000 times on social media. I shared the poem via giving quotes from it. The comments near the pictures and the poems, which are in the bill of indictment, don’t belong to me,” Büyüksaraç said.

“I’m regretful that the post I shared was perceived as an insult,” she also said.

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