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Turkish Court to Determine if Gollum-Erdogan Comparison is Insult

  • VOA News

FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to local administrators at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 26, 2015. He voiced regret Nov. 28 about Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane.

FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to local administrators at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Nov. 26, 2015. He voiced regret Nov. 28 about Turkey's downing of a Russian warplane.

The fate of a Turkish doctor is in the hands of experts who are tasked with determining whether he insulted the Turkish president by comparing him with the Gollum character from the “Lord of the Rings.”

Bilgin Ciftci could face two years in jail for sharing images on Facebook that seemed to compare President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the creepy character from J.R.R. Tolkien's novels and film adaptations.

The controversy stems from whether one sees Gollum as a hero or a villain. In the trilogy, Gollum has both traits.

The dispute caused Ciftci to lose his job at a local hospital after he was detained in October for posting a series images of Erdogan next to Gollum, both making similar facial expressions.


The court in the western province of Aydin has asked two academicians, two psychologists and a movie expert to determine if the comparison is an insult.

The judge in the case made the decision saying he had not seen the wildly popular movies.

A decision is expected in February.

Turkey has been criticized of late for a spike in the number of journalists and others being charged with insulting Erdogan and other senior officials. Former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac was charged with insulting Erdogan and two journalists were arrested last week after being charged with spying.

Turkish law states that anyone who insults the president can face a prison sentence of up to four years. Even stiffer sentences could befall a journalist.

Between August 2014, when Erdogan was elected, to March of this year, 236 people have been investigated for “insulting the head of state,” according to the BBC. Just over 100 were indicted.

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