A Turkish court ordered the arrest of journalist Sedef Kabas, who was arrested and jailed at 2 a.m. Saturday in Istanbul, ahead of a trial for allegedly insulting the country's president, according to German news agency DPA.
The prestigious journalist has been accused of attacking Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, after reciting a proverb through a live TV channel, in which she criticized the government for its repressive means.
"There is a very famous proverb that says that crowned head becomes wiser. But we see that it is not true," the journalist communicated on the Tele1 channel.
"A bull does not become a king just by entering the palace, but the palace becomes a barn," Kabas added, later posting the quote on Twitter.
"The honor of the office of the presidency is the honor of our country.... I condemn the vulgar insults against our president and his office," reported Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan's chief spokesman and head of Turkey's communications directorate, who called the journalist's comments "immoral" and "irresponsible."
"A so-called journalist is shamelessly insulting our president on a TV channel that has no other goal than to spread hatred," he posted on the social network.
During his statement in court, Sedef Kabas denied the charge as well as the intention to insult the country's president.
Likewise, Merdan Yanardag, editor of Tele1 channel, disagreed over Ms. Kabas' arrest.
"Her arrest overnight at 2 am because of a proverb is unacceptable," Yanardag communicated.
"This stance is an attempt to intimidate journalists, media and society," he added.
According to the law on insulting the president, the prison sentence is between one to four years.
Kabas is currently in Istanbul's Bakirkoy prison, his lawyer, Ugur Poyraz, said in a telephone statement, in which he also said that he will file an appeal against the "illegal" detention on Monday.
"We hope that Turkey will soon be able to return to the rule of law," the lawyer added.
In addition, Ebubekir Sahin, chairman of the Turkish media watchdog RTUK, has communicated on Twitter his intention to open an investigation against Tele1, due to the "unacceptable statements against our president."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected president of Turkey in August 2014, after spending 11 years as prime minister.
However, his mandate has raised serious doubts in the international community due to the constant repressions to which he subjects critics, accusing thousands of people of insulting his person, which increasingly cools relations with the European Union.
Last October, the European Court of Human Rights asked the country to change its legislation after ruling that these accusations violated freedom of expression.
According to Reuters news agency, more than 31,000 investigations related to these accusations have been filed in 2020.
It is worth noting, that this week Metropoll Research estimated Erdogan's approval rating at 38.6 percent, which means that the level of popularity has decreased by more than 2 percent since December, with disapproval predominating mostly.
Moreover, the president will face elections in June 2023, despite currently obtaining a lower popularity rating than three potential rivals for the presidency.
According to polls, Erdogan would lose in the upcoming elections to Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and İyi party chairwoman Meral Aksener.
However, President Erdogan blames it on global market conspiracies for Turkey's economic crisis, while most of the population blames his unorthodox economic policies aimed at achieving "economic independence."
Finally, last year the Turkish lira plunged 44 percent against the dollar, plunging to an inflation rate of 83 percent, according to the Inflation Research Group (ENAG).