Former Miss Turkey Sentenced to Prison for ‘insulting’ Erdoğan

mmmmA court on Tuesday convicted a former Miss Turkey of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through social media postings and gave her a 14-month suspended sentence, amid deepening concerns that the country is swaying toward an increasingly authoritarian form of rule.

The court in Istanbul found 27-year-old model Merve Buyuksaraç guilty of insulting a public official but immediately suspended the sentence on condition that she does not reoffend within the next five years.

Her lawyer, Emre Telci, said he would file a formal objection to the verdict and appeal her case at the Strasbourg, France-based European Court of Justice.

Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained last year for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account in 2014. Prosecutors deemed it to be insulting to President Erdoğan, who was still prime minister at the time. She has denied insulting Erdoğan.



Before the verdict was announced, Erdoğan’s lawyer, Hatice Ozay, argued in court that Buyuksaraç’s Instagram post cannot be considered a criticism, but rather an attack on Erdoğan.