This story is just crazy y’all.
Two Turkish 23-year-olds were arrested in Instanbul because they posted a video that poked fun at Turkey’s recent lockdown measures due to COVID.
The two, who are being referred to only as K.Ö and N.Y., were detained, handcuffed and finally released on judicial probation for allegedly insulting the value of the Turkish passport, and therefore belittling national symbols in a TikTok video, Turkish Minute reported.
On April 25, the two, who are boyfriend and girlfriend, posted a video on TikTok under the title, “Areas where the Turkish passport is used.” In the video they used Turkish passports for a variety of purposes other than traveling (i.e. coasters, oven gloves and bookmarks).
The number of COVID cases in Turkey continue to skyrocket and are now one of the highest in Europe. The tongue in cheek video was made in response to the country’s first national COVID-related lockdown, which has just begun and will last until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, May 17th.
The two say they made the video to be funny, but now express regret. “We are very sorry for having been misunderstood. We apologize for it. We removed our video immediately. We never intended to insult the Turkish passport or flag. We love our country. We did not have any intention of committing a crime,” said K.Ö.
Response to the event was mixed, even from Turkish people. From Newsweek:
One Turkish writer commented, “A passport represents a country, like its flag. Some people believe that, if you are in the UK for example, you should respect the UK flag, the passport, the country. It is the same in Turkey as well.”
Another user in Turkey disagreed with the actions of the court, tweeting: “Anyone can make fun of a country, by using whatever means they see fit. countries are not divine entities, they are political constructions, and these kind of absurd actions tarnish turkey, because the real worth of a country is measured by how it actually cares for its citizens.”
Of course, Turkey is not a country where its citizen are allowed vast freedoms of speech or expression. Its leader is an autocrat and censorship is common. So whereas such a video could be made in a place like the U.S. without a problem, in Turkey? Not so much.
K.Ö and N.Y. are being required to report to a police station every day (Hello, lockdown?) until they face a judge again on charges of “openly insulting the state’s sovereignty insignia.”
Feature Photo: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary