A Norwood area woman’s recent arrest in Turkey continues to make international headlines
for her alleged comments against the Turkish president.
And as Greg Davis reports, her situation doesn’t surprise some:
Ece Heper remains in Turkish custody after she allegedly used Facebook to insult the country’s president.
In Norwood, Stop and Shop owner Ed Bouman said Heper – a dual Canadian-Turkish citizen – was a regular customer.
Ed: She seems like a very intelligent woman and very nice person.
He last saw Heper in the fall and she referenced an upcoming a trip to turkey. Bouman says was shocked to learn of her arrest.
Ed: She seems to be an outspoken person. But over there in other countries you have to watch what you’re saying. It’s not like Canada where you have freedom of speech.
Norwood residents we spoke with didn’t know Heper but one agreed with the store owner.
Streeter: You’re known as a keyboard warrior for saying stuff behind a computer. But if you’re in another country they can practically do what they want as long as it follows their laws.
It’s not like the laws here with freedom of speech and we can say what they want they might not have the same laws in Turkey.
A law in the Turkish criminal code prevents the insult of the Turkish president. So Heper’s arrest didn’t surprise Trent university professor Dr. Feyzi Baban who noted that prosecutor for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have filed hundreds of defamation cases against citizens since August 2014.
Dr. Baban: The line between the actual insult that’s specified in the criminal code and the freedom of expression right now is blurred; as a result you have that many high cases against people and this woman is another example of that.
Friend Emrah Bayram says Heper likely misunderstood the law after criticizing the president’s treatment of journalists.
Bayram: There’s no freedom of speech in Turkey. Ece only’s mistake… it’s not a mistake. She thought she was immune because she was Canadian. But it’s not true. Foreign people aren’t safe in Turkey anymore.
Insulting a Turkish president carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.
Baban: She would have known the law because shes a dual citizen. The thing about the dual citizenship is Turkish law will apply in her case.
A trial for Heper could take months. A Facebook group page has been created to generate international attention to assist her cause.
Greg Davis CHEX News Facebook