Thursday, May 26, 2022

Turkish journalist detained after ‘insulting’ President Erdogan in a TV interview

Sedef Kabas was arrested in Istanbul on Saturday after a live interview on the opposition TV channel Tele1 last Friday, according to Turkish state broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television, TRT Haber.

Kabas used traditional Turkish proverbs to refer to Erdogan without actually naming the president.

“A crowned head makes sense, but we see that is not true,” he said, in reference to the nearly 20 years in power since Erdogan became then-president.

He then said: “When a cattle enters the palace, it will not be the king, but that palace becomes the barn.”

According to TRT Haber, the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor of Istanbul decided to send Kabas to prison after an investigation into his comments.

Kabas was detained at the hotel where she stayed on Friday night.

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On Saturday morning, he was first taken to the police station and then to the prosecutor’s office. Cameras were already on when she was brought to court where she appeared before a judge in an Istanbul court and was immediately arrested.

“I declare that we will fight against illegality till the end,” Kabas’s lawyer Ugur Poyraj wrote on his Twitter page.

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül responded on Saturday with a tweet that did not name Kabas: “I curse the ugly words that target our President, who was elected by the votes of our nation. These endless and illegal expressions arising out of jealousy and hatred deserve a reaction before the conscience and justice of the country.”

Turkey’s presidential communications director, Fahrettin Altun, wrote in a tweet on Saturday: “Politics, opposition and journalism all have morals. Those who see this morality too much in this country are the poor people who do not have self-esteem. A so called journalist is openly insulting our President on a television channel with no goal but to spread hatred!!”

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Responding to the news of the journalist’s arrest, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) – a non-profit media watchdog – said: “No less than 200 journalists were prosecuted, and 70 journalists were sentenced on similar charges. was heard since Erdogan was elected president in August 2014.”

Erdogan is often criticized as an authoritarian figure in Turkey and his two decades in power have seen him crack down on the opposition in the country.

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