Tags: merve buyuksarac | miss turkey | president recep tayyip erdogan

Merve Buyuksarac, Former Miss Turkey, Convicted of Insulting President

Image: Merve Buyuksarac, Former Miss Turkey, Convicted of Insulting President
Merve Buyuksarac is seen backstage at the Gizia show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul s/s 2014 presented by American Express on October 7, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. (S. Alemdar/Getty Images for Maybelline)

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Jun 2016 09:37 AM

Merve Buyuksarac, a former Miss Turkey, was convicted this month of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a social media post.

The Independent reported that Buyuksarac was given a 14-month suspended sentence, meaning she will avoid prison unless she's found "reoffending." Buyuksarac, 27, won the Miss Turkey beauty contest in 2006.

The beauty queen, who is now working as a model, posted a satirical poem on Instagram in 2014, called "The Master's Poem," which was critical of then-Prime Minister Erdogan and incorporated the country's national anthem in its verses.

"An attack took place against the personal rights of my client," Erdogan's attorney Hatice Özay told the Hurriyet Daily News. "We want the defendant to be punished."

Buyuksarac said during a hearing that she regretted making the Instagram post and asked for an acquittal.

"The poem I've shared was shared 960,000 times on social media," Buyuksarac said. "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. I'm regretful that the post I shared was perceived as an insult."

Ali Deniz Ceylan, Buyuksarac's lawyer, said Tuesday, according to the Daily News, that the beauty queen's post was judged unfairly and should have been acquitted.

"The boundaries of criticism shouldn't be interpreted harshly due to the complainant being a state authority," Ceylan said. "We think that the statements my client shared should be evaluated politically. That's why we demand the acquittal of my client."

BBC News reported that human rights activists charged that Erdogan was using Turkey laws to silence critics, along with journalists, academics, and average citizens. Nearly 2,000 people – from celebrities and schoolchildren – have been prosecuted in Turkey for insulting the president since Erdogan took power in 2014.

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Merve Buyuksarac, a former Miss Turkey, was convicted this month of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a social media post.
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Wednesday, 01 Jun 2016 09:37 AM
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