Turkish journalist jailed 10 months for Twitter typo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously called social media, "the worst menace to our society."
By Aileen Graef   |   April 29, 2014 at 3:56 PM   |   Comments

ANKARA, Turkey, April 29 (UPI) -- A Turkish journalist from an opposition newspaper was jailed Monday for a typographical error in a tweet from 2012 that insulted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Önder Aytaç, writer for the newspaper Taraf, sent a tweet in 2012 in response to a news story that Erdogan was shutting down private schools that the Gulens operate. The Gulen movement is an opposition movement of which Aytaç is a member. He tweeted a link to the article with the comment, "Shut them down, chief :)"

The problem is he used the word "ustam" meaning "chief" which is the commonly used to address Erdogan but in what Aytaç claims is nothing more than a typo, he added "k" to "ustam" making it "ustamk" which is the shorthand for saying "[expletive] off."

Aytaç was officially charged with "insulting public officials" and was given a suspended sentence. It is unclear whether his suspended sentence will prevent further jail time.

Just last month, Erdogan attempted to wipe out the social media site altogether along with the video sharing site YouTube after audio recordings of high level officials were leaked, revealing corruption in the top ranks of the Turkish government. The bans were later overturned.

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