Gollum and Turkish Law

This is from yesterday’s i newspaper, and would be funny if it wasn’t true:

“He is shrivelled, slimy and will stop at nothing to lay his hands on a golden ring. But is Gollum a villain? The fate of a Turkish doctor hangs on the answer to that seemingly trivial question.

Having shared a Facebook post that compared the Lord of the Rings character with his nation’s President, Bilgin Ciftci found himself charged with insulting  state official and facing up to 2 years n prison. Barred by he Public Health Institution of Turkey, the act also cost him his job.

Now, in a darkly comic twist to a case that has lifted the lid on Turkey’s increasingly restrictive climate, the judge overseeing his trial has been forced to adjourn while a panel of experts prepares a report on the nature of Gollum’s true character.

Their findings will be used to decide whether being compared to JRR Tolkein’s grotesque creation is an insult or not.

Dr Ciftci’s predicament stems from a Facebook post that laid 3 images of Gollum and Recep Tayyip Erdogan side by side. In one they both wore a startled expression, in another they looked surprised [what’s the difference?], while a third depicted the President gnawing o a chicken drumstick while Gollum chewed a scaly fish.

The 47-year-old doctor told i that he was “very surprised” when he learned he would be prosecuted. The case, he said showed that Turkey was going through “a very difficult time”. He said that he did not regret his actions, but added:” I am trying to be more careful.”

His lawyer Hicran Danisman, had initially tried to defend her client based on is right to freedom of expression. Having got “nowhere” with that approach she told the Associated Press that she had been forced to argue that “Gollum is not a bad character”.

Admitting that he had only seen parts of the films, the judge postponed the trial and commissioned a panel to come up with a character report. the committee will include 2 psychologists, 2 behavioural scientists and an expert on cinema and television…

The view of Lord of the Rings devotees suggest that they may struggle to come up with a definitive answer. According to the fan site Tolkein Gateway, centuries of lonely existence under the allure of the Ring induced multiple personalities in Gollum.

Opposition politician Ermine Uelker Tarhanonce claimed that the president resembles another Tolkein character, Saruman, a wizard corrupted by his desire for power.

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