Reuters - Duvar English
The United States is "disappointed" by the arrest and detention of journalist Sedef Kabaş by authorities in Turkey, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Jan. 24.
A Turkish court on Jan. 22 ordered Kabaş, a well-known journalist, to be jailed pending trial on a charge of "insulting" President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.
"We believe freedom of expression strengthens democracy and it needs to be protected, even when it involves speech some may find controversial or some may find uncomfortable," Price said at a press briefing when asked about Kabaş's case.
The alleged insult against Erdoğan was in the form of a palace-related proverb that Kabaş expressed both on television channel TELE1 and on her Twitter account.
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.”
In her defense later, Kabaş denied the charges and said that her remarks constituted as a proverb. “The original of my remarks are a proverb. As it can be understood, I did not have any intention of insulting. What I meant is the necessity of embracing society and use of unifying rhetoric,” she said.
Several groups have slammed the move to arrest Kabaş, with the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) saying that authorities are attempting to “create an atmosphere of fear in the public.”