In Turkey, Police Monitor 40M Social Media Users for Presidential Insults: Report


The Turkish National Police's "anti-cybercrimes department" has dedicated a special desk to monitoring social media for the crime of "insulting state authorities," according to a local news report.

The desk became necessary after a flurry of cases were opened after individuals allegedly insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan online, according to the English-language Hurriyet Daily News.

"Even if the environment is virtual, crime is a reality," Kursat Basoglu, an official in the department, told the paper. "You cannot insult a person, slander or offend in normal life, so you cannot do it on social media platforms either."

In a truly bizarre case in 2015, Turkish man Dr. Bilgin Ciftci went on trial for allegedly sharing a meme in which Erdogan was compared to the "Lord of the Rings" character Gollum. Ciftci came up with a novel defense and argued that Gollum is, in fact, a hero in the fantasy epic.

Peter Jackson, director of the "Lord of the Rings" films based on the books by author J.R.R. Tolkien, and LotR super-geek Stephen Colbert came to the man's defense by pointing out that the images actually showed Smeagol, Gollum's good alter-ego. (You really need to watch the below video in which Colbert lays it all out.)

Two years after the Facebook posting, Ciftci was convicted and given a suspended jail sentence. A court later reportedly acquitted him.

According to Hurriyet, the Turkish police cyber anti-crime department said it monitors some 40 million active internet users' social media to detect crimes beyond the alleged insults, including prostitution, drugs and illegal betting.

[Like what you see and read on Code and DaggerBecome a Patreon and help keep the lights on. Do you have a tip or question? Reach out at]

Military to Fighter Pilots: Why Are You Leaving Us?

Spy Scientists Want Algorithms to Team Up on Facial Recognition