The persecution of individuals speaking ill of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues, as more stories surface of people silenced or punished for disagreeing with the president. In an incident this week, a young cleaning lady in a private firm was fired after allegedly posting insults against Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Facebook.
From Hurriyet Daily News:
The Public Health Directorate of the governorate in Çanakkale province sent the document last year to its subcontractor for cleaning services, indicating Facebook messages sent by one of its workers. The document states that the messages were relayed to the directorate by an informer, before asking the firm “to do what is necessary” by Dec. 18, 2014.
The firm refused to fire the woman because they believe in “freedom of expression rights.” When they refused, the government decided to award a cleaning contract to another firm. The new firm immediately fired the young woman.
Hurriyet Daily News and Dogan News Agency did not specify what the woman said or if the government also threatened the new firm.
In January, Turkish authorities arrested former Miss Turkey, Merve Buyuksarac, 26, for quoting a poem on social media that insults Erdogan. “The Master’s Poem” criticizes “the president through verses adapted from Turkey’s national anthem.” In another incident, Professor Hasan Herken, the dean of the medical faculty at Turkey’s Pamukkale University, resigned after he mocked a man dressed as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “16 warriors,” representative of various manifestations of the Turkish empires throughout history.
In February, the Turkish prosecutor in Diyarbakir, the symbolic capital of the Kurds, charged Dutch journalist Fréderike Geerdink with “terrorist propaganda” for allegedly posting “messages on social media in favor of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), including a display of the group’s flag.”