Former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac convicted of 'insulting Recep Tayyip Erdogan' on Instagram

Buyuksarac was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 31 May 2016 10:40 BST
Merve Büyüksaraç modelling in 2013
Merve Büyüksaraç modelling in 2013

A former Miss Turkey has been convicted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a social media post.

Merve Buyuksarac was handed a 14-month suspended sentence meaning she will be sent to jail if she does anything in the period deemed to qualify as “reoffending”.

The 27-year-old model, who won the Miss Turkey contest in 2006, was briefly detained for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account in 2014.

A previously little-used law is being used to prosecute people for insulting President Erdogan (Getty Images)

Called 'The Master’s Poem’, it reportedly criticised Mr Erdogan and adapts the country’s national anthem in its verses.

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“I shared it because I found it funny. I had no intention to insult President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Ms Buyuksarac was quoted as saying at the time.

Prosecutors deemed it to be insulting to Mr Erdogan, who has filed close to 2,000 defamation cases since becoming president in 2014, using a previously little-used law that bars insulting him.

Foreign leaders and international observers have raised concern over deteriorating freedoms in the country, where critical voices in the media and politics have been targeted by a wave of new laws and arrests cracking down on dissent.

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