Ousted Miss Turkey faces ‘up to one year jail’ over tweet

Itir Esen won Miss Turkey 2017 in September but then had her crown taken away because of what organizers said an “unacceptable tweet” she sent around the first anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. (AP)
Updated 07 December 2017
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Ousted Miss Turkey faces ‘up to one year jail’ over tweet

ISTANBUL: The winner of Turkey’s national beauty pageant, who was forced to hand back her crown over a contentious tweet, is facing up to one year in jail on charges of “publicly denigrating” elements in Turkish society, a report said on Thursday.
Itir Esen, 18, won Miss Turkey 2017 in September but then had her crown taken away because of what organizers said an “unacceptable tweet” she sent around the first anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
As a result, she missed the chance to represent Turkey in the Miss World competition in China and prosecutors also opened a criminal probe against her.
In the tweet, she compared the blood shed in her menstrual cycle with that of the 249 people who lost their lives during the failed coup and are now celebrated in Turkey as martyrs.
“I am having my period this morning to celebrate the July 15 martyrs’ day. I am celebrating the day by bleeding on behalf of our martyrs’ blood,” she wrote.
Turkish prosecutors are seeking up to one year jail for Esen on charges of “publicly denigrating some part of society based on their class, race, religion, sect, gender or regional differences,” the private Dogan news agency quoted the indictment as saying.
An Istanbul court is due to decide whether to approve the indictment within 15 days, Dogan said.
After the tweet was discovered, Esen’s title was handed to Asli Sumen, who came second and who will now represent Turkey in the Miss World contest in China on November 18.
Esen had confirmed she posted the tweet, which she said was written “carelessly” but added that it had no political aims.
Critics say the state of freedom of expression is deteriorating in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as thousands have been prosecuted for social media postings deemed to have insulted the Turkish leader since he came to office in 2014.
Prosecutors in 2015 launched an investigation against former Miss Turkey beauty queen Merve Buyuksarac on charges of insulting Erdogan through social media posts.
But her 14-month sentence was suspended on condition that she does not reoffend within the next five years.


Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

Updated 20 October 2018
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Europe, Japan send spacecraft on 7-year journey to Mercury

  • Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the planet

TOKYO: European and Japanese space agencies say an Ariane 5 rocket has successfully lifted a spacecraft into orbit for a joint mission to Mercury, the closest planet to the sun.
The European Space Agency and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency say the BepiColombo spacecraft successfully separated and was sent into orbit from French Guiana early Saturday to begin a seven-year journey to Mercury.
The mission is complicated by the intense gravity pull of the sun, forcing the spacecraft to take an elliptical path that involves two fly-bys of Venus and six of Mercury itself.
Once the spacecraft arrives in late 2025, it will release two probes that will independently investigate the surface and magnetic field of Mercury.