Charges of “we don’t like you”

More on the Red Shoes woman in Turkey, from Hürriyet:

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office took action against the Twitter account @kedibiti after Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek, who is known as an active Twitter user, filed a complaint about the account, also alleging that it had “insulted the president and the government.”

Prosecutors discovered that the Twitter account’s owner was a 36-year-old Istanbul resident, identified only as G.Y. The Istanbul Police Department called her to the police station, and she arrived at the station in Istanbul’s Gayrettepe neighborhood, where she reportedly explained that she was an atheist.

She was released after questioning, but a lawsuit has been opened against her on charges of “triggering hatred in society” and “slandering.”

Charges? Charges in what sense? Can I open a lawsuit against someone on “charges” of being boring or annoying or unfunny or wearing a color I don’t like? A legal system that entertains “charges” of vague meaningless things because someone published a picture of a pair of feet standing on a book is a very bad legal system indeed.

World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say was sentenced to 10 months in prison for blasphemy in 2013 in a similar case, after he retweeted several lines attributed to 11th century poet Omar Khayyam.

Turkey – you’re going in the wrong direction.


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