Turkish Mayor Sues 600 For Critical Tweets, Which Are Hilarious When Translated Into English

It’s apparently illegal in Turkey to insult the country or its government.

The Hurriyet Daily News reports that İbrahim Melih Gökçek, mayor of Turkish capital Ankara, has taken legal action against several hundred people trashing him on Twitter.

“There are about 600 people now that I’ve sued. In the beginning we weren’t able to catch them with the speed of social media, but now we can,” the mayor said in an TV interview. “When you give their names and accounts to police, they find themselves in front of prosecutors. But if they apologize publicly, then I say they’re young and forgive them.”

Under Turkey’s controversial Article 301, those who insult “the Turkish Nation” can serve up to two years in prison.

Gökçek, who’s served as mayor since 1994, is a controversial figure. Earlier this year, he said of women who get abortions, “Let mothers kill themselves.”

Gökçek’s Twitter account is completely in Turkish. But thanks to Google Translate, we were able to decipher a few tweets that maybe kind of sound like insults.

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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