clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Turkish columnist gets jail sentence for 'typo' in tweet

New, 40 comments

A columnist in Turkey was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Monday all because of a tweet that he insists contained a typo. Önder Aytaç posted the fateful message nearly two years ago after hearing about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's plans to shutter private schools. In Turkish, "ustam" translates to "my chief." But when you tack the letter "K" onto the end, it suddenly means something much more derogatory. Thanks to the "typo," Aytaç's tweet told Erdogan to "screw off" and he's now been convicted of insulting a public official. According to Mashable, Aytaç's sentence is reportedly suspended for a year — he's still actively tweeting as of today. But whether that means he'll avoid jail time entirely or simply have his sentence delayed isn't entirely clear.

The relationship between Aytaç and Erdogan's government has always been tense, thanks largely to the former's role as an investigative journalist for the opposition newspaper Taraf. Just last month, Aytaç was detained over allegations that he had information about a controversial recording that captured Turkey's military leaders discussing an offensive against Syria. Following that damaging leak, Erdogan promised to "eradicate" Twitter and other social media within the country. The service was temporarily blocked last month, but access was later restored. Twitter eventually blocked three whistleblower accounts to appease Turkish courts.