DC Trawler

Turkish Man Faces Prison For Comparing Erdogan To Gollum

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I like to make fun of people who exercise their right to free speech by calling for limits on other people’s free speech. Mocking stupid fascists is always a good time.

But as ridiculous as those people are, we shouldn’t take free speech for granted or assume it’s one of those “universal values” our increasingly dissociated president likes to talk about. We only have the right to free speech because our ancestors fought for it, and if we don’t continue to fight for it every day, we can end up like, say, Turkey.

Aziz Akyavas and F. Brinley Bruton of NBC News, reporting from Istanbul:

A judge has asked five experts to determine whether comparing Turkey’s president to “Lord of the Rings” character Gollum should be considered an insult.

Bilgin Ciftci appeared in court in southern Turkey on Tuesday and could face up to two years in jail for posting pictures of the slimy and scary creature juxtaposed with photos of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Facebook, according to his lawyer Hicran Danisman. Insulting a public figure is a crime in Turkey.

It’s bad enough that this Ciftci fellow could go to jail for daring to mock his leaders. But it’s crazy to even question whether comparing somebody to Gollum is an insult. Of course it is! I mean, just take a look:

Nobody’s going to compare you to that as a compliment. But nobody should go to jail for it.

If you live in a country where you can still insult a public figure, count your blessings. Unless you’re the public figure being insulted, of course. Then you should try to crush all dissent and punish any filthy peasants who don’t know their place.