HUFFINGTON POST
05/31/2016 10:27 am ET

Former Miss Turkey Sentenced To 14 Months For Insulting President Erdogan

Merve Buyuksarac shared a poem on Instagram that referred to a high-level Turkish corruption scandal.
Miss Turkey 2006, Merve Buyuksarac, pictured second from the left, was sentenced to 14 months in jail for insulting President
Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Miss Turkey 2006, Merve Buyuksarac, pictured second from the left, was sentenced to 14 months in jail for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan.

ANKARA, May 31 (Reuters) - A former Miss Turkey was handed a 14-month suspended prison sentence on Tuesday for insulting President Tayyip Erdogan through a poem she shared on Instagram, the latest of at least a dozen Turks to face such a sentence.

An Istanbul court found model Merve Buyuksarac, 27, guilty of insulting a public official but suspended the sentence on condition she does not repeat the act for the next five years, local media said.

Model Merve Buyuksarac walks the runway at the ADL & Cengiz Abazoglu show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul on O
Ian Gavan/Getty Images
Model Merve Buyuksarac walks the runway at the ADL & Cengiz Abazoglu show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul on October 8, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey.

 Insulting the president is a crime punishable by up to four years in jail in Turkey. The law was used infrequently until Erdogan won the presidency in August 2014, since which time prosecutors have opened more than 1,800 cases for insulting him, including against cartoonists, journalists and teenagers.

Prosecutors are also pursuing a case against a German comedian who mocked Erdogan on German television.

Buyuksarac, who was crowned Miss Turkey in 2006, was briefly detained last year for sharing the poem on Instagram in 2014. It was called "the Master's Poem" and referred to a high-level Turkish corruption scandal in 2014.

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