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Turkish journalist arrested for allegedly insulting President Erdogan with ox proverb

A prominent Turkish journalist has been jailed pending a trial after being charged with allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Sedef Kabas had recited a proverb on television and on Twitter, referring to an ox.

The proverb translates to: “When the ox comes to the palace, he does not become a king. But the palace becomes a barn.”

Kabas’s lawyer, tweeted that her client had been formally arrested during a court appearance in Istanbul on Saturday.

The judge accepted the prosecution’s argument that she posed a flight risk.

The 53-year-old has hosted a series of high-profile TV shows over a career spanning three decades – and there has been a mixed reaction to his comments.

Fahrettin Altun, head of Turkey’s communications directorate, wrote on Twitter: “The honour of the presidency’s office is the honour of our country… I condemn the vulgar insults made against our president and his office.”

More on Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Merdan Yanardag, chief editor of the Tele 1 channel on which Kabas made the comment, condemned the arrest.

“Her detention overnight at 2am because of a proverb is unacceptable,” wrote Yanardag on Twitter. “This stance is an attempt to intimidate journalists, the media and society.”

Under the insult law, tens of thousands have been prosecuted for targeting Mr Erdogan since he became president in 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister.

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