Turkish singer Zuhal Olcay sentenced to 11 months in jail for 'insulting Erdoğan'

A famous Turkish singer and actress has been sentenced to 11 months in prison for insulting President Tayyip Erdoğan during a performance in 2016
Friday, 13 July 2018 03:53

A Turkish court ruled 11 months and 20 days in prison for Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay for "insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan" in a hearing held on July 12.

The sentence was suspended on condition that she does not commit the same crime for a year and a half.

Olcay was reported to the police on Aug. 5, 2016, after a concert in İstanbul, for making an insulting hand gesture in reference to Erdoğan. 

She was also accused of revising lyrics to the song "Boş Vermişim Dünyayı" (I Let Go of the World) to criticize Erdoğan, devising a hand-gesture to accompany the melody. According to the footage, the revised lyrics say: "Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you'll say 'I had a dream.'"

In her testimony, Olcay rejected the accusations, saying she had used Erdoğan's name because it fit the rhyme scheme and had no "ulterior or insulting motive". She said the hand gesture was aimed at an audience member.

The higher court first revoked the decision to sentence Olcay to 10 months in jail, ruled previously by the 46th Criminal Court of Peace, and increased the sentence to one year and two months before reducing the sentence over good behaviour.

Despite Olcay’s calls for abatement or a fine instead of a prison sentence, she received the jail term as the court ruled she had "purposefully insulted the president."

Insulting the president Erdoğan is a crime punishable by up to four years in prison in Turkey.