Turkish journalist Sedef Kabas was arrested on Saturday for “insulting the president” and was remanded in pre-trial custody, citing a proverb on television targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a journalist’s lawyer reported. “There is a very popular saying that a hairy head becomes smarter. But we see that is not true. The cow will not enter the palace and become king, but the palace will become a stable,” the journalist said. Visible in Turkey, live Friday on the Tele1 channel.
Sedef Kabas posted this “Circassian proverb” on his Twitter account, where he was followed by nearly 900,000 subscribers.
His lawyer, Ukhur Boyros, said Saturday evening that he was arrested overnight at his home in Istanbul from Friday to Saturday and the journalist was interrogated and then remanded in pre-trial detention.
“I curse the ugly words that target our president,” Turkish Justice Minister Abdul Hamid Gul tweeted.
The Turkish Press Association (TGS) has called Sedef Kabas’ arrest “a serious attack on freedom of expression” for insulting the president.
NGOs routinely condemn violations of press freedom in Turkey, especially since a coup attempt in 2016 following the arrests of dozens of journalists, which were considered hostile by many media outlets.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Turkey ranks 153rd out of 180 in the 2021 Press Freedom Index.
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