Former Miss Turkey and model Merve Büyüksaraç has said she has “lost faith” in the Turkish justice system after a local court handed her a prison sentence for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“We have seen that in Turkey you are tried as though you have insulted [someone], whether or not you actually did” Büyüksaraç told the Turkish website of Russia's state news agency Sputnik, after she was given a suspended jail sentence of one year, two months and 17 days for “insulting” then-Prime Minister Erdoğan via a post on Instagram.
“I can say that I've lost faith in the Turkish justice system,” she said, adding that she still thought the poem she shared on her social media account was “really witty and funny.”
Büyüksaraç, who was chosen as Miss Turkey in 2006, also said she considered her trial an “intimidation.”
“It all seems planned. A policy of intimidation by picking someone famous and [saying] ‘this is what will happen to you if one of you share something like this,'” she said, adding that the poem was shared 960,000 times on social media by other people.
Büyüksaraç also addressed President Erdoğan's controversial recent remarks on birth control, which have received a backlash from women's organizations.
During a speech in Istanbul on May 30, Erdoğan repeated his long-time policy of encouraging “at least three children per family,” arguing that “no Muslim family should ever consider birth control or population planning.”
Büyüksaraç said the president's remarks were “extremely ugly statements.”
“They already meddle with everything [we do]. I guess the only thing left was our reproduction,” she added.