A prominent Turkish TV journalist has been detained and could face imprisonment after being charged with insulting the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Police detained Sedef Kabaş at her home at 2am on Saturday and took her to a police station, before she faced court and was jailed pending a trial.
The alleged insult was a proverb that Kabaş expressed both on an opposition television channel and her Twitter account.
The proverb translates to: “When the ox comes to the palace, he does not become a king. But the palace becomes a barn.”
“The honour of the presidency’s office is the honour of our country … I condemn the vulgar insults made against our president and his office,” Fahrettin Altun, head of Turkey’s communications directorate and Erdoğan’s chief spokesman, said.
Merdan Yanardağ, the chief editor of the Tele 1 channel, on which Kabaş made the comment, criticised her arrest.
“Her detention overnight at 2am because of a proverb is unacceptable,” he said. “This stance is an attempt to intimidate journalists, the media and society.”
The law on insulting the president carries a jail sentence of between one and four years.
Last October, Europe’s top human rights court called on Turkey to change the legislation after ruling that a man’s detention under the law violated his freedom of expression.
Thousands have been charged and sentenced over the crime of insulting Erdoğan in the seven years since he moved from being prime minister to president.