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Tipsheet

The President of Turkey Wants to Jail a Man Over This Image

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not happy about an image shared by a Turkish doctor that pointed out that he looks a bit like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The doctor, who was fired after sharing the image on his Facebook page, So much so, he's trying to have the man jailed for up to two years. In Turkey, insulting the president is considered to be a crime.

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Now, in a case that would be hilarious if it didn't involve a man potentially going to jail, a Turkish court has to decide if whether or not being compared to Gollum is insulting. The judge has not seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies.

In response to this, articles about the incident--and the fact that something called a "Gollum expert" exists--and the photo itself rocketed to the front page of Reddit.

Unable to determine a physical resemblance, the court in the western province of Aydin asked a group of experts -- two academics, two psychologists and one movie expert -- to testify as to whether the comparison was an insult, Milliyet newspaper reported.

The judge presiding over the case admitted he has not seen the fantasy blockbusters directed by Peter Jackson. The court adjourned the case until February, while the experts analyze Gollum, Milliyet reported.

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While I'm about the furthest thing from an expert on Lord of the Rings, I don't think it's fair to say Gollum is entirely a villain. He's a fairly complex character, and trapped in the grip of the One Ring rather than his own free will. Anyhow, it's absurd that it's illegal to compare the president of the country to something that may or may not be an actual insult.

Freedom of speech is incredibly important. Let's never forget this.

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