Former Miss Turkey gets 14-month suspended sentence for insulting Erdogan

Tue May 31, 2016 12:29pm EDT
 
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ANKARA (Reuters) - A former Miss Turkey was handed a 14-month suspended prison sentence on Tuesday for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan through a poem she shared on Instagram, the latest of at least a dozen Turks to face such a sentence.

An Istanbul court found model Merve Buyuksarac, 27, guilty of insulting a public official but suspended the sentence on condition she does not repeat the act for the next five years, local media said.

Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in jail in Turkey. The law was used infrequently until Erdogan won the presidency in August 2014, since which time prosecutors have opened more than 1,800 cases for insulting him, including against cartoonists, journalists and teenagers.

Prosecutors are also pursuing a case against a German comedian who mocked Erdogan on German television.

Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained last year for sharing the poem on Instagram in 2014. It was called "the Master's Poem" and referred to a high-level Turkish corruption scandal in 2014.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Tom Heneghan)

 
Miss Slovakia Magdalena Sebestova, Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac, Miss Italy Elizaveta Migatcheva, Miss Hungary Renata Anetta Toth and Miss Slovenia Iris Mulej (L-R) pose during the Miss World 2006 welcome dinner in Warsaw September 3, 2006. More than 100 candidates will take part in the 56th Miss World at the end of September in Poland. REUTERS/Katarina Stoltz (POLAND)