Reuters - Duvar English
A Turkish court on Jan. 22 ordered well-known journalist Sedef Kabaş to be jailed pending trial on a charge of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Police detained Kabaş at around 2 a.m. and took her first to Istanbul's main police station before transferring her to the city's main courthouse, where a court subsequently ruled in favor of her formal arrest.
The alleged insult was in the form of a palace-related proverb that Kabaş expressed both on a television channel and on her Twitter account, drawing condemnation from government officials.
Kabaş said on live TV and later in a tweet: “An ox might find his way into the palace but it doesn’t make him a king. It does, however, turn the palace into a barn.”
Merdan Yanardağ, chief editor of the Tele 1 channel on which Kabaş made the comment, sharply criticized her arrest.
"Her detention overnight at 2 a.m. because of a proverb is unacceptable," he wrote on Twitter. "This stance is an attempt to intimidate journalists, the media and society."
The law on insulting the president carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.
Last October, Europe's top human rights court called on Turkey to change the legislation after ruling that a man's detention under the law violated his freedom of expression.
Thousands have been charged and sentenced over the crime of insulting Erdoğan in the seven years since he moved from being prime minister to president.
In 2020, 31,297 investigations were launched in relation to the charge, 7,790 cases were filed and 3,325 resulted in convictions, according to Justice Ministry data. Those numbers were slightly lower than the previous year.
Since 2014, the year Erdoğan became president, 160,169 investigations were launched over insulting the president, 35,507 cases were filed and there were 12,881 convictions.