A Turkish journalist was arrested Saturday after allegedly insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a live television interview.
Sedef Kabas was arrested in Istanbul, where she was court-ordered to be jailed while awaiting trial, according to the BBC. She is accused of insulting Erdogan through use of a Turkish proverb during a live interview on Tele1, a television channel linked to the opposition.
“There is a very famous proverb that says that a crowned head becomes wiser. But we see it is not true,” Kabas said on Tele1, according to the BBC. “A bull does not become king just by entering the palace, but the palace becomes a barn.” (RELATED: Erdogan Urges Putin To Teach Israel A ‘Lesson’)
Kabas tweeted the second portion of the proverb following the interview.
Last week, journalist #SedefKabaş quoted a proverb on TV: “When the ox goes to the palace, he does not become a king. But the palace becomes a barn.”
— Jennifer Hattam (@TheTurkishLife) January 24, 2022
Kabas did not mention Erdogan by name in the proverb and denied she was referring to him in her official court statement, the BBC reported. However, Turkish governmental officials condemned Kabas’ quotation of the proverb.
“I curse the ugly words that target our President, who was elected by the votes of our nation,” Turkish Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül said in a tweet. “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.”
“Those who do not demonstrate morals to this country are miserable people with no self-respect,” said Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s director of communications, in a statement. “A so-called journalist shamelessly insults our President on a television channel that exists purely to promote hatred. I condemn this impudence, this immorality, in the strongest terms possible. The act is not only immoral, but also reckless in the name of politics, opposition, and journalism.”