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
0

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.


Japan heatwave threatens famed Tsukiji tuna auction

Updated 13 August 2018
0

Japan heatwave threatens famed Tsukiji tuna auction

TOKYO: Fishmongers at Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji tuna auction are feeling the heat as the aging market’s air conditioners struggle to keep up with a heatwave blanketing the country.
The dilapidated market is due to close later this year, and will relocate to a new, modern site.
But in the meantime, wholesalers have been forced to take measures including keeping their pricey produce in cool trucks until moments before auction.
“We can’t replace the aging air conditioners as we’re relocating very soon, and it’s been so hot that it’s hard to get the temperature down,” an official at the market told AFP.
The auction space is usually kept at 15 degrees Celsius to keep the treasured tuna cool, but an “unprecedented” heatwave meant the mercury hit as high as 20 degrees in July, the official said.
To keep their fish fresh, wholesalers are keeping the shutters in the auction warehouse sealed, leaving tuna inside cool trucks until shortly before auction and covering fish with tarps as soon as they are sold.
“Wholesalers are doing their best to keep the tuna from thawing,” the official said.
After more than 80 years in operation, Tsukiji is scheduled to move to Toyosu, the site of a former gas plant, on October 11.
The current site is the world’s biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction in an area packed with restaurants and shops.
Plans to move the market have been in the works for years, and the relocation was originally scheduled for 2016.
But myriad delays have set back the timeline, including the discovery of soil contamination at Toyosu.
Tsukiji opened in 1935 and is famed for its pre-dawn tuna auctions, with one fish going for more than $320,000 at the market’s final New Year’s auction last year.
Japan has been struggling with a nationwide heatwave that killed 119 people and hospitalized nearly 50,000 others last month.