A well-known Turkish journalist Sedef Kabas has been detained for allegedly disrespecting the nation’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Police detained her in the early hours of Saturday morning, and a court ordered her to remain in jail pending a trial.
Kabas’ lawyer Ugur Poyraz said they would appeal the “unlawful” decision on Monday January 24.
“We hope Turkey can return to rule of law soon.”
The alleged insult was in the form of a palace-related proverb that Kabas expressed both on an opposition television channel and on her Twitter account, drawing condemnation from government officials.
Kabas did not name Erdogan directly. However, the authorities object to a proverb that she used during a show on Tele1 television and later tweeted.
“When the ox comes to the palace, he does not become a king,” Kabas said. “But the palace becomes a barn.”
Erdogan spokesperson Fahrettin Altun called Kabas “immoral” and “irresponsible.” “The honor of the presidency’s office is the honor of our country. … I condemn the vulgar insults made against our president and his office,” he wrote.
Turkey’s justice minister, Abdulhamit Gul, wrote on Twitter that Kabas will “get what she deserves” for her “unlawful” remarks.
The country’s broadcast regulator, RTUK, meanwhile, started an investigation into Tele1 for “unacceptable statements targeting our president.”
Tele1’s chief editor, Merdan Yanardag, sharply criticized the arrest. He said;
“Her detention overnight at 2 a.m. because of a proverb is unacceptable.
“This stance is an attempt to intimidate journalists, the media and society.”
The crime of insulting the president carries a jail sentence of one to four years in Turkey. Since Erdogan became president in 2014, 35,507 cases of insulting the president were filed and there were 12,881 convictions.
Kabas had previously been charged after she posted criticism of a government-appointed judge who dropped a corruption probe against Erdogan and other politicians. She was later released.