Appeals court upholds Turkish actress’s sentence for insulting Erdoğan

Turkey’s appeals court on Thursday upheld an 11-month-and-20-day prison sentence handed down to actress and singer Zuhal Olcay for insulting the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, BBC Turkish reported.

The authorities launched an investigation into Olcay in 2016 after receiving a complaint that the singer had changed lyrics of songs and used hand gestures to insult Erdoğan in a concert in Istanbul.

According to footage examined by the authorities, the revised lyrics said: “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream.’”

In her testimony, Olcay reportedly said she had changed the lyrics because the president’s name fit the rhyme.

The prosecutors later asked a four-year sentence for Olcay. A court in Istanbul sentenced Olcay last year to 11 months ane 20 days in prison, but suspended it. Erdoğan’s lawyers appealed the decision, demanding the suspension be overruled.