Prominent Turkish Journalist Jailed After Allegedly Insulting President Erdogan

A Turkish court jailed prominent journalist Sedef Kabas for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan using an ox proverb.

Authorities detained Kabas at a hotel in Istanbul where she was staying on Jan. 22 after she quoted a traditional Turkish proverb in a live TV interview, accusing her of targeting Erdogan.

“When the ox comes to the palace, he does not become a king. But the palace becomes a barn,” Kabas said, appearing on the opposition-linked TV channel Tele1 on Jan. 21.

Kabas later posted the proverb on Twitter.

The court ordered Kabas to be jailed pending a trial after accepting the prosecution’s argument that she posed a flight risk.

The charge carries a prison sentence of between one and four years.

In a court statement, Kabas denied insulting Erdogan.

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun accused Kabas of “blatantly insulting our President on a television channel that has no goal other than spreading hatred!”

“I condemn this arrogance, this immorality in the strongest possible terms… It is no one’s place to insult our President,” Altun said on Twitter.

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül also condemned Kabas’ remarks.

“These endless and unlawful expressions arising from envy and hatred will find the response they deserve in the conscience of the nation and in front of justice,” Gül said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Tele1 Chief Editor Merdan Yanardağ condemned Kabas’ arrest, describing it as “unacceptable.”

Yanardağ also said that the proverb was “expressed in a completely different context.”

Kabas’ lawyer Uğur Poyraz said that he visited Kabas in prison whose “moral is very high.”

“She is not afraid because she is right,” Poyraz said.

Kabas has hosted a series of high-profile TV shows for three decades.

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