Turkey: a journalist “will not go unpunished” for insulting, according to Erdoğan | Turkey
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised that a well-known television journalist will not go “unpunished” after her arrest for allegedly insulting him.
Police arrested Sedef Kabaş at her home at 2 a.m. Saturday, just hours after she broadcast the comments, then posted them on Twitter to her 900,000 followers.
The alleged insult was a proverb which translates to: “When the ox comes to the palace, it does not become king.” But the palace becomes a barn.
She was officially arrested after appearing in court.
“This offense will not go unpunished,” Erdoğan said in an interview broadcast on the private television channel NTV.
“It is our duty to protect respect for my office, for the presidency,” he said. “It has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”
He criticized a suggestion by the opposition Republican People’s Party that the crime of insulting the president, which carries a prison term of one to four years, should be dropped.
The Turkish Journalists’ Union called Kabaş’s arrest a “serious attack on freedom of expression”.
Rights groups regularly accuse Turkey of undermining media freedom by arresting journalists and shutting down critical outlets, especially since Erdoğan survived a failed coup in July 2016.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 153rd out of 180 in its 2021 Press Freedom Index.