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A Turkish Court ‘Orders Gollum Study’ in Erdogan Case

Trial of the man who compared Turkish president to Lord of the Rings character is reportedly adjourned after judge says he hasn’t seen the films

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A Turkish court has asked experts to examine the character Gollum from The Lord of the Rings in the case of a man on trial for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Experts need to assess whether President Erdogan resembles Gollum, after memes appeared comparing the two.

The court is looking into the case to establish whether Dr. Bilgin Ciftci insulted the president when he shared a meme comparing the facial expressions of Erdogan with Gollum.

For publishing the meme, Ciftci was expelled from the Public Health Institution of Turkey (THSK) in October and depending on the verdict, he could face up to 2 years in jail.

The Guardian reports:

The trial of a Turkish man accused of insulting the president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, by comparing him to Gollum has been adjourned so that a group of experts can study JRR Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings character, Turkish media has reported.

Bilgin Çiftçi was fired from his job at Turkey’s public health service in October after sharing images comparing Erdoğan’s facial expressions to those of Gollum.

According to a report in the daily newspaper Today’s Zaman, a court in Aydın has adjourned Çiftçi’s trial as the chief judge had not seen the Lord of the Rings films. The court-appointed experts have reportedly been asked to determine whether the comparison is indeed an insult.

 Erdoğan’s reign has been characterised by intense pressure on the media and the prosecution of many local journalists. They have decried what they say is the worst crackdown on the press in the republic’s history, saying the Turkish president has little tolerance for mockery or dissent.

Gollum is known for his grotesque appearance, his split personality, eating raw fish and disliking rabbit stew and potatoes, but also for assisting the hobbits Frodo and Sam in their quest to reach Mount Doom to destroy the Ring of Power, thereby defeating the evil Lord Sauron and ushering in an era of peace in the fictional world of Middle Earth.

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The judge has postponed the hearing until February, 13, 2016. If the doctor is found guilty he could be sentenced for up to two years in prison for insulting Erdogan.

Erdoegn Gollum