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Want to call Erdogan a dictator? Get ready to hire some lawyers

The Turkish government has launched two court cases against the media for allegedly offending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
A woman walks past a banner that reads, "Even you arrest (journalists) or censor (media) we know that you are a war criminal Tayyip" and with a picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a protest over the arrest of journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul in Ankara, Turkey, November 27, 2015. Around 2,000 people protested on Friday over the arrest of two prominent journalists on charges of espionage and terrorist propaganda, a case that has revived long-standing criticism of Turkey's record on pr
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The daily Hurriyet’s magazine supplement posted Nov. 13 a web-only article headlined “13 Reasons for Bad Luck Associated with Friday the 13th.” The piece was not political and was illustrated by a photograph of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Last Supper.” Upon closer inspection of the image, however, one saw it had been digitally altered to have President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seated to the right of Jesus. In a public apology to Erdogan, Hurriyet said it had removed the image from its Web page within minutes of its posting and immediately fired the editor, Aynur Karabel, and the director of Web page content, Sermin Terzi. It also said the use of the photo had been an unacceptable oversight.

For the two fired journalists, the ordeal is far from over. News broke Jan. 25 that prosecutors had filed suit against Terzi and Karabel for offending the president. Both assert that they did not realize Erdogan’s image had been placed into the visual. Because the article had nothing to do with politics, they had no intention or reason to use such an image. The prosecutors claim, however, that the image is offensive regardless of purpose or accidental use.

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