Sentenced to Prison for One Instagram Post

Maybe the name of Merve Büyüksaraç doesn’t tell you a lot, but she was tremendously famous in Turkey some 10 years ago. The reason? She was awarded the title of Miss Turkey in 2006, and she became well-known again in 2014 – because of a poem. A poem reposted on Instagram, which cost her to be judged. Two days ago, we knew what would happen to her.

Everything happened two years ago. Büyüksaraç posted a poem she saw on an Instagram profile onto her own account – @mervebuyuksarac. The poem in question made fun of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who’s been the President of Turkey for the past 20 months. Previously, he had held the position of Prime Minister for 11 years, since 2003.

A picture Miss Turkey 2006 uploaded, telling what happened A picture Miss Turkey 2006 uploaded, telling what happened

The poem was taken as an insult to Erdoğan, an act which is punishable by prison in Turkey. She risks to be imprisoned for 14 months if she insults the President again, but for the moment she can be free. Although she denied having wanted to offend the President, and despite having said that she shared the poem only because it seemed funny to her, she risks to be imprisoned for more than one year.

The poem in question is called “The Master’s Poem” and it severely criticizes Erdoğan and his administration, mocking the country’s national anthem. This one is, according to The Guardian, at least the 2,000th person sued for defamation by the Turkish president.

Büyüksaraç announced through her Instagram profile that she’s not in prison, as some media have recently said, and she thanked her nearly 20K followers for having supported her and shown their love ever since the case was first heard of. At least, the fact that 20K people tell you they’re with you bust be a good way of knowing you’re not alone.

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