ANKARA, Turkey – A court has convicted a former Miss Turkey of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan through social media postings and sentenced her to a 14-month suspended sentence.
The court on Tuesday found 27-year-old model Merve Buyuksarac guilty of insulting a public official. She would serve the sentence if she reoffends.
Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained for sharing a satirical poem on her Instagram account in 2014. Prosecutors deemed it to be insulting to Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.
Since becoming president in 2014, Erdogan has filed close to 2,000 defamation cases under a previously seldom-used law that bars insulting the president.
The trials have deepened concerns over deteriorating freedoms in the country that was once seen as a model of Muslim democracy.